Writings of a teachermom, choosing to stay home with her kids, while loathing all domestic responsibilities! In late Aug. 2008, I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer. After surgery, chemo and radiation, I was given theall clear. However, in the late summer of 2008, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which metasticized to other areas.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Gophers, MRI, Movie

We had a really good time at the Gopher's basketball game last night. I forgot how much fun college games are. I hadn't been to a college game since my sophomore year at Indiana University. I hate to admit that tonight I almost didn't go. Five minutes before leaving, I was lying in bed, head hurting, feeling worn out. But I just wanted to do this with Cameron. Along with Melvin, Cameron also brought a friend, and together, we all had fun.

I got my MRI results back, and they were good.....PRAISE GOD! There's no new cancer in the brain and in the area of the spine where the scan was done. And there was some decrease in the cancer as well. This was only for part of my spine. I'm not sure when I'll have an MRI for the some of the other areas. I'll try to post the actual "medical results" this weekend, for those who understand all that jargon

If you're looking for a fun, girly, lighthearted movie this weekend, check out The Bride Wars. My mom and I went to see it tonight, and it was a good time. Warning....there was only one guy in the theatre....it definitely is a chickflick!

Continued thanks for all the kind thoughts and prayers!

"Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and by your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for you."

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Go Gophers!

I'm supposed to go to a Minnesota Gopher's Game tonight with Melvin, Cameron and a friend of his. This should be interesting!

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Building Buddies

I've been on the treadmill a couple times this week. Walking mostly, and then doing a minute or two of running sometimes as well. SLOW.....I'm VERY SLOW. But I'm just trying not to fall over right now. The past 2 nights I've felt good after running. Today has not been an easy day, as far as pain and fogginess goes, so we'll see if the exercise helps tonight.

I had an MRI of the brain and spine again today. Lying on my back seems to cause more head and neck pain, so you can imagine how pleasant that experience was. But I got through it, and I guess I'll get the results tomorrow.

And after my week off, I'm back on my chemo pill of Xeloda...which doesn't seem to have negative side effects for me. Actually, I seem to feel worse when I'm off it. We'll see how this works out this week.

I'm leaving you with a gift: peace of mind and heart! And the peace I give isn't fragile like the peace the world gives. So, don't be troubled or afraid. (John 14:27)

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Working on Reading

Last week Max's teacher politely told me that she's basically trying to help him initiate playing with other kids. This doesn't surprise me, as Max can be very sensitive. He also has a couple friends that he plays with no problem, but these consist of only girls. I need to get him playing with other boys his age as well.

However, even though I know there are some social issues we need to work on, Max is starting to read, and probably nothing excites me more! We've been using the book How to Teach Your Child to Read in a 100 Easy Lessons. It's the same book I'd used with Cameron. And Max has picked up on it rather quickly. Today he read his first "Bob" Book "Go Bus." That was very exciting to me. I look forward to more reading time with Max. The way I see it, if Max is reading by Kindergarten, then that's one less thing the teacher needs to be responsible for him....especially since now I just read in the paper that class sizes are going to go UP again in his school district.

I'm going to be having more tests done. I'm due for an MRI on Wednesday. I've been having a lot of neck and head pain at night. Also, standing up and down sometimes brings on major lightheadednesss and pain. A couple times I have almost fallen. And then sometimes, I'm completely fine, just need a minute or two to let the pain subside, and then all is back to normal. There's so much about this cancer that makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. I'm starting to feel like I'm going backwards again as far as mental competence goes. I've been fine, feeling great, and yet these past couple days the anxiety and confusion that I experienced before is starting to come on. I'm also not sleeping well at night. The steroids they make me take has something to do with that....but it's more too. And yet, on better notes, I walked and ran on the treadmill this morning and that felt great.

Psalm 51:12
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good Things

More good news. When they checked the cells from my latest lumbar puncture, there were less cancer cells. So I guess that means the chemo is working. Praise God! More details later when I'm awake enough to get them!


Speaking of Praising God! Being positive and seeing His glory in our lives is something I have been trying to focus on lately. I need to get better...much better...especially with my kiddos and my husband. And I am not preaching, or being righteous, as I am so guilty in this area of my life. But here I sit at 3 AM, saying that maybe this weekend we can all take a little time to be a little extra happy, a little extra patient with each other. I'm going to try.

It seems to be movie time lately around here. With unbelievably bitter cold temperatures, is there really much else to do!?!

Tonight I went with a couple of my girlfriends to go see Revolutionary Road with Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio. I thought it was an odd combination at first, considering their Titanic connection, but the acting was so good, you never connect the characters to the old film. With that said, it was a long, drawn-out movie. My husband would have hated it. But I think it brings on really good discussion...especially with girlfriends. So if you see it, allow time for coffee or something afterwards. But if you're looking for a happy flick.....this is not the one. I'm still trying to get someone to see Bride Wars with me. Why not...need a little fluff from time to time.

Job 8:21
He will fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with happy shouting.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another full day ... feeling good

The lumbar puncture went fine. I'm still feeling a little soreness from the procedure, but I'm sure that will go away. I was able to walk for 1/2 hour today on the treadmill. And my day has been pretty full with the kids and such. If you live in the area, here's a fun place to let your kids run: Little Kids Big City

My husband and I did get to see the movie Slumdog Millionaire today. According to a radio show I listen to, it was an uplifting movie. It's not. It has a "happy" ending. But if you're looking for a movie filled with cheer, this is not it. It IS a really great movie though, and one that you should go see. I highly recommend it. FYI, a companion Young Adult book to go with the movie would be Sold, by Patricia McCormack.


This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalm 118:24

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Monday, January 19, 2009

All around

I have another lumbar puncture tomorrow to inject more chemo into the spine. I feel like I just had this done. But I guess it was 2 weeks ago. I'll have to lie flat for most of the morning. Wish I could put a TV on my ceiling.


Watching Top Chef has me thinking I should try to be a chef. My previous way of making meatloaf involved an egg, some packet of seasoning, and ground meat. My recipe today was a Martha Stewart one that one of my neighbors made for me last year. As I was making it today, all I could say to myself was, "What was I thinking?" Here's the recipe. It is quite good, but very time consuming....at least by my standards. On tomorrow's menu....scallops. Never made them before, but they're sitting in my freezer. Might as well figure out how to use them.


I am very annoyed about this peanut butter scare. My son eats PB & J for lunch almost every single day.


I'm excited for a new President...finally.


"Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food." - Genesis 1:29

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Sunday, January 18, 2009


My husband and I celebrated our 11th anniversary this weekend. Nothing fancy. A really good dinner. We tried a movie....3 times. Who know Slumdog Millionaire was going to be such a popular movie. Even when we purchased tickets in advance, there were no seats available come movietime. We usually see movies during the week...guess we ought to stick to that routine.


I'm feeling better in a lot of ways, in that I want to try to get things back to normal as possible. As long as I can keep adjusting to the pain in my head and the lightheadedness I continue to experience throughout the day when I'm getting up and down, then I think I'll be fine. I'm not sure why the pain in my neck and head continues, but my oncologist said I need to continue to allow time for the pill chemo and the lumbar puncture chemo to work (another round on Tuesday). I'm trying to be patient.


Physically I am getting stronger. I can even lift Ella up a little, and before I could not do that at all. I don't feel as fatigued all the time, and my mind is clear. So I praise God for all the wonderful blessings he has bestowed on me lately.

Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Negative and positive

Considering that school was cancelled in my town today because it was just too cold, I think it's safe to say that despite some of the difficulties of not being at home, I'd rather be back in Florida!

Thank you to all of those who suggested the FastPass option. To let you know, Disney, as well as Universal, offers a free FastPass option for those going through chemo and their family members. They don't seem to advertise it. And the workers look at you like they have no idea what you're talking about. But if you push for it, you'll get up to 6 Fastpasses, which helped my family get on rides faster.

Now me, I couldn't really do the rides, which saddened me a bit. Last time we were in Disney was the first time I was able to enjoy some bigger rides with Cameron. And since I love all things roller coasters and such, it was a lot of fun to experience the thrill with him. But this time, all I could do was walk around the park and watch the little kids enjoy the rides on the days when I had the energy.

On a great note, my best friend Lanette and my sister Dana finished the Disney Marathon, which was the entire purpose of the trip to begin with. I wish I could have joined them as planned, but obviously that was not going to happen. But I'm very proud of them for their accomplishment.


I went to see another doctor today about a Cyberknife procedure. This kind of procedure would allow the doctor to do very high-tech specific/localized radiation therapy. The surgeon would be able to use the radiation to cut out the cancer from my spine. Sounds great. Except in my case, it would only be used as a very last resort. With me, it's too risky, because of where the tumor in the spine is. I could actually lose several bodily functions and even become paralyzed. So that appointment was disappointing, but at least the doctors were honest and clear in their opinions.
I see my oncologist again tomorrow to figure out what our plan will be for treatment...again. Hopefully whatever options they give me will not only get rid of this cancer, but also the pain that won't seem to leave the back of my head and base of my neck.
Psalm 138: 2-3
I will worship toward Your holy temple and praise Your name for Your loving-kindness and for your truth and faithfulness; for You have exalted above all else Your name and Your word and You have magnified your word above all Your name! In the day when I called, You answered me; and You strengthened me with the strength in my inner self.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bone Scan Praise!

Good news on this scan! The bone scan I had today was negative. This means there's no cancer in my bones! Woo hoo!!!!!

Going to see a neurosurgeon and radiation oncologist tomorrow for more opinions about other options for treatment.

I better get back to "Top Chef" because if you were anywhere near my dinner tonight, you'd know I better start taking some copious notes so someone will actually want to eat tomorrow!

Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved; FOR THOUGH ART MY PRAISE!!!!!
(Jeremiah 17:14)

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We're back. With a couple sick kids. Bone scan today. More details later.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Still Here

Florida is sunny and warm today. The kids are enjoying the backyard, heated pool. Yesterday we did Universal/Islands of Adventure. Today we're just relaxing.

I hate to even write it, but I received more bad news from the my oncologist yesterday when we were coming back from one of the parks. When the doctors injected me with the chemo through my back, they also took out some spinal fluid to test. It came back positive for cancer cells. The last test did not show this.

I am also feeling more pain as each day goes by. But the Vicodin helps, and when we return to Minnesota, we'll be looking at even more options for treatment.

So keep praying. I appreciate all your kind thoughts, encouragement and prayers. I really do.

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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Can't give up

I had my Lumbar Puncture procedure done today. The doctor removed some spinal fluid, which will be analyzed, and then he inserted the new chemo into my spine. It really wasn't a big deal, and felt no different than the last time I had a spinal tap when I was down at Mayo. It's annoying to have to lie flat on your back for hours after the procedure, especially when I am a side/stomach sleeper, but I was able to catch up on all my Top Chef shows that I had missed!

Barring any major medical complications, we ARE going to Florida tomorrow. It is going to be a very long day, but we'll get through it. And once we get there, I'll have lots of help. In addition to my mom and my husband to help out with the kids, once we get to Florida, we'll be meeting up with my sister, niece, my friend Lanette and her middle school aged son. My sister and friend will be running the Disney Marathon, which was the entire purpose of this trip when we originally planned it this summer. Obviously, I'll just be cheering on the sidelines.

I was pretty down yesterday...many tears after hearing the negative MRI test results. But I'm much better today. I can't just give up. So I'll keep doing whatever it takes to get this cancer to go away. And I'll continue to pray, and pray, and pray. Only through my trust in God will this cancer go away. It won't always be easy, and there are going to be some hard times, but I've got to have faith...I just must.

Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.


Tuesday, January 06, 2009

It is something

You know that pain that I thought the steroids was going to relieve...well, it hasn't gone away. Even with Vicodin, it's not going away. My neck really hurts.

And there's a reason. Not a good one. The cancer in the spine is growing. I guess the last round of radiation I had didn't kill it all. So that's what's causing all the pain.

Looks like I'll be starting a new chemotherapy tomorrow...I think they're going to do my first round doing a Lumbar Puncture (spinal tap), where they'll put chemo up my spine. And then next time, they'll use the Omaya Resevoir I had put in my head back on Halloween. We accessed the port once before, but then we had to start radiation and stop the chemo. And then we started the Xeloda instead.

I'm not sure what the exact plan of action is. All I do know is that I have 3 kids who are very excited to get to Disney this week, and somehow I've got to figure out a way so this cancer does not stop them from having the fun they deserve.

Have faith in God for assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, "Be removed and be cast unto the sea" and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Mark 11: 22, 23

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Monday, January 05, 2009

Not pleasant

Some virus is being passed around my house. It started last week with Max and then Ella vomiting and diarrhea. Then it was my turn this weekend. And now it's my poor mom's turn. Hopefully this is the last of the bug before we go away to warmer weather.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Like a Vampire

Good News!

My blood counts are down.

And I spent most of my day sitting in the hospital getting a blood transfusion.

Why would this be good news one may ask?

Because this means that the head pain, back pain, overall achiness, and fatigue are not due to the cancer growing, but rather due to other, treatable issues.

For one I was weened off my steroids that I had been taking, and apparently my body still needs me on them to produce whatever needs to be produced for a healthy cell count. So the simple solution is to put me back on a low dose of steroids. I'm not thrilled about this, because I really wanted to get rid of this puffy face and eyes, but oh well. Whatever will keep me healthy is what I need to do.

The other reason why my bloodcounts were down was the Xeloda itself. The chemo can do that, which is why you take a week off, to give your body a break from the poison, before going back on for 2 more weeks. I had a blood transfusion to give me some healthy cells and bring my counts and blood pressure back up.

Now hopefully I will be feeling better. Mentally, I already feel better knowing that the new cancer isn't causing these problems. One of the issues I've been having is being incredibly light headed when standing up or down or even going up or down stairs. I'd actually hear an odd throbbing sound in my head, but I refused to tell my husband because I figured he'd think it was funny and joke around about the "voices" in my head. Well it turns out, my doctor told ME that with such a low blood pressure and my low counts that I might experience a "whooshing" sound in my head. It felt so good to know that I wasn't losing my mind after all....and that it's treatable.

Thank you for those who sent me messages to cheer me up.

And a huge THANK YOU to blood donors!!!!

Hebrews 10:35-36
Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Sometimes it's hard to be happy

This message won't be long because I've just been down in the dumps lately. I think it's because this week, I've been having pain again...in my head, in my shoulders, down my spine. All the areas that were so concerning before. And when I have these aches, I'm just so crabby, because the Tylenol doesn't do much to relieve my pain. And I think I start to become fearful that the cancer is growing.

I've also been really tired. I walk up the stairs, and I want to just lie down and take a nap. I thought being off the chemo this week was going to make it easier, but it hasn't.

Also, I think I've been down because my fear is that the doctor is going to do some tests and tell me that I need radiation again. Such treatment was daily and I had to plan my whole day around it. I just don't want to do it anymore.

Tomorrow, my husband and I meet with my oncologist. I pray that all is well and I'm just being ridiculous about it all. I so want to be healed....so badly.

Sorry I'm not so chipper today.

Lord, please help me to see the good around me and not dwell on the pain or or what might be happening inside my body. I am surrounded by helpful people that the Lord had brought into my life and for that I am so thankful. Allow me to accept Your healing power and have confidence in Your work. Confidence that you will rebuke this cancer and bring nothing but joy into this household. In Jesus name, Amen.

"Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." (Mark 11:24)

"Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)

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