Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When it rains it pours...

When it rains it pours...quite literally. It rained buckets today and Jenni and I got caught out in it. We had gone to pick up my disability check from work. When we finally made it home in the rain we got a call that her VW bug needs major expensive repairs, that none of us were prepared for. But tomorrow...the sun will shine and the grass will be better for the rain, and cars can be fixed or replaced. My baby girl (ok she's 20 but she is still my baby) is trying to decide if she should just move home temporarily to save money and fix her car. Pray for her tonight!

I however, have felt pretty good considering my counts are low. I wish I could solve all the problems, but I just have to trust all the right decisions will be made and try not to worry.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Hair

Yesterday was tough, but with the support of my wonderful family and friends I got through it.

My hair is officially gone. It had started really coming out so Jenni cut it as short as she could, and then Josh came over later in the day and buzzed it for me. I knew it would happen and I thought I was prepared, but when it actually started falling out, I kind of melted down. As I've been reminded, thank goodness for "portable hair" and hats.
I want to thank all of you who let me cry on your shoulder yesterday, and also for the late night chocolate fix from Lori and Angie. I've discovered that chocolate makes everything more bearable.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Pool day at Linda's


We had an exciting "pool day" today at Linda's house. Anna, Morgan and Michael are all getting pretty brave about swimming without floaties and they all love the slide.



Emri is 8 months old and loves the water too.






This was my first time to get in the pool since surgery. I stayed on a float most of the time, but it sure felt good to get in the warm water and relax. I however, am NOT going to attempt that slide.

Congratulations Franklin!


My 12 year old nephew Franklin was baptized today in Murfreesboro. We are very proud of you!
This photo is Franklin and his little brother Michael.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Be alert to all those signs around you...

I've told a few of you this, and someone suggested I blog it, so here is how it began.

My journey...I went to the dentist right after Christmas and she gave me a pink ribbon toothbrush. I thought "how nice". I got address labels from "Susan G. Komen" and put them in a drawer, with the rest of the address labels that arrive. I went to get contact solution a few months after that, and it had a pink ribbon on it and came with a pink case. I thought "I'll never be able to tell left from right" with that case. I went shopping and they didn't have the sweater I wanted in red, but they had it in hot pink, so I reluctantly tried it on and liked it. I even got compliments when I wore it. (my wardrobe consists of red/black and blue jean variances, so pink was new for me) I then went to Victoria's Secret's big spring sale. The bag I wanted in black wasn't on sale, but the hot pink one was, so I bought it instead. Chassi brought me a refill on my "Vanilla Latte" foam body wash from BeautiControl (thanks Tiffany) and it comes in a pink topped bottle. I was taking an extra long shower and enjoying the lather and awesome smell. That is when I found THE LUMP. I wasn't looking for it, but there it was and my gut told me something wasn't right about it.

So girls (and guys), pay attention to those things that God, Mother Nature and the Universe send you - whatever you want to call them - gut feelings, intuition or signs. I've always said I need my "signs" to be big neon flashing ones, but usually they are more subtle and you just have to be alert.

The day after I got my official diagnosis/biopsy results, I asked Jenni to get me out of the house. I wanted to go somewhere I wouldn't see anyone I knew, and become a basket case. She took me to this huge used book and CD store in West Nashville. I wandered the aisles looking for just that right book that would speak to me. I walked over to the CD section and there was Olivia Newton-John's CD, "Stronger than Before". It's the one she wrote just after her journey with breast cancer 15 years ago. That was my sign that I could do this treatment, and come out stronger than I was before. It's on my iPod and I listen to it when I walk and it inspires me. I'm a child of the 70's and 80's - and we all love Olivia anyway, and this is a fabulous CD. I'll be happy to share it with any of you who want to hear it. I made me a copy for the car and the house, so if I need a pick me up it is close by. I'm sure Bryan is sick of it.

I've lost some great women in my life to Breast Cancer - Ouida, Sonya and Pam are three of those. There are so many women out there that I didn't personally know, but their lives were cut too short due to this horrible disease. I've bought breast cancer stamps, I've walked in the "Komen for the Cure" walk. I have taken care of young mothers fighting this disease, and admired each and every one of them for their bravery. Being diagnosed has given me even more respect for all of you who have been affected by this.

I'm personally going to do all I can to help support the research and other women affected . I can't believe how far science has come since I left the field 10 years ago. The medications are much improved, and my treatments have not been that rough on me. I hope you will all join me to support the research to end cancer, so all of the women and men in our lives NEVER have to go through any of this.

I'm planning on walking October 4th in the "Komen for the Cure" walk here in Nashville, anyone want to join me?


Thank you all for letting me ramble,

Laura

Friday, July 25, 2008

Chemo #3 is behind me

Chemo #3 is over and 9 left to go. Still feeling well, my WBC is 1400 so I'll need to be cautious of infection for the next bit. My friend Angela took me today. We worked at Baptist Oncology together for 10 years. We sat and laughed and caught up on each other's families and talked about old times. How did we ever survive those 7p to 7a shifts and still be sports moms, room mothers and stay relatively sane??
Time really does goes by fast when you are with people you enjoy! Thanks for the yummy banana bread. (she brought me some, and some for the staff at the office- they loved it too!)

Last night Rebecca brought her delicious poppy-seed chicken and salad. She, Denise and Abbey stopped by for a visit. I think I'm about ready to join the working class again. August 11th is when I'm scheduled to go back. Wonder if they will care if I nap on my desk occasionally? When "chemo tired" hits you just have to sit or lie down for 30 minutes or so and then I'm up and about again. It's frustrating. Oh well, very little side effects, so I shouldn't complain.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Exploring South Nashville stores

Since my surgery, my friend Mickey has been coming over every week or so and taking me out to explore shops close to the house. It keeps me from being stir crazy and let's me indulge in one of my favorite past times...shopping.
We found a new store yesterday - Maggie May's in Lenox Village. It's a fabulous art, gourmet and gift shop. The owner Dave was telling us they hold "Second Saturday" wine and cheese receptions and highlight a new artist each month. The next one is August 9th. I think we should all plan to go and support the community.

www.insouthnashville.com - to sign up for the news and events e-newsletter

Dinner with friends

Catherine and Mickey popped in for our bi-weekly dinner and a movie. Catherine cooks and we eat and watch a movie. Well we intend to watch a movie, but we always end up laughing and talking and ignore the movie.

This past 6 wks we have been staying very well fed. The group at work sends delicious dinners on Thursdays. The Spears are always calling and saying "hey come on over, we have dinner ready". Carmen and Arnold brought us "Moe's". (it's nice to be able to say I'm craving Moe's and have it delivered to your door) 

We are completely spoiled- Thank you all!


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Physical Therapy Visit

I met with Joan, my physical therapist, yesterday and I have full range of motion back in my arms! I guess all those not so fun stretches have paid off. Thank you to all of you who encouraged me to stretch on...
Now I am moving on to strength training. It's amazing how much strength you can lose in 6 wks. She started me with 1, 2 and 3 lb dumbells doing:
Pull over: straight arm, Extension: lying -single arm, Bench press, Curls, Lateral Deltoid Raise and Row. I'm sure this means something to my exercise science friends, to me it's just a drawing on a paper. : )


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Still searching for that cute helmet...





Jenni
and I
went shopping today.





Here are some of our finds...feel free to vote for your favorite.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Attitude is everything

This is a very cute poem that my friend Patrick shared with me to remind me to stay positive.

There once was a woman who woke up one morning,
looked in the mirror, and noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
"Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today."
So she did and she had a wonderful day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror
and saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said,"I think I'll part my hair down the middle today."
So she did and she had a grand day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror
and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
"Well," she said, "today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail.
"So she did, and she had a fun, fun day.

The next day she woke up, looked in the mirror
and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on her head.
"YAY!" she exclaimed."I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

JAM film friends

This morning we went by to see our JAM films family, at Woodmont. It was great to see everyone and get caught up, and of course get hugs. Ricky, Mark and Gavin are finally getting to make a super-hero movie. If anyone knows super heroes, it's these three guys. I can't wait to see the final product. 

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Good Weekend

It's been a good weekend, Dad, Sherry, Michael and Franklin came by on Friday. Lisa had taken them, Anna and Morgan to "Go Dog Go"- it is always good to get a hug and see their sweet faces. Belle brought us a delicious dinner on Friday night and I got to catch up with Beth on the phone today. It's always nice to catch up with my cousins.

Today, I ran a few errands and saw some old friends and shopped a bit. I do get tired easily, but no nausea or pain to speak of. I have learned to rest between bouts of activity and that seems to help a lot. I'm up to 20 minutes at a time on the treadmill, it's just been too hot to walk outdoors for me.
Tonight, we went by to wish Dale a happy 40th and have a yummy taco. Dale- you don't look a day over 35, and you looked fabulous in your toga!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Chemo #2 is over

Chemo #2 is over - only 10 more to go! All went well, it probably took and hour or so. 
My friend Kim came up to go with me and brought our high school year books and our last school newspaper. We graduated from CCHS 25 yrs ago this past May, so it was fun to reminisce and laugh at all those 80s styles. It really made the time fly by. 
Last night we had a pork roast, potatoes, green beans courtesy of Jeri. It was delicious. Thank you!
Going to take a power nap now, and then try to hit the treadmill this afternoon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Happy Birthday Jenni

20 years ago today I checked into Baptist expecting to give birth to "Jake" and become really outnumbered by the guys at home. I was thrilled and ecstatic when Jennifer appeared instead!! We should have known she was a girl when on every ultrasound she crossed her legs and turned over.
Jenni immediately became our " "little princess" at home. So much so, that when she was 6 she had my Mom help her make a list of all the princes that were in her age range - thank goodness she got over that obsession with Prince Harry!

Jenni has always lived by her own set of rules with quiet determination. I'm very proud to be her Mom.
Happy Birthday Jenni!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Haircut day


Today I went to see Stacy Shacklett (Eclipse on Elliston) to get my hair cut. I had her cut it fairly short, well short for me. Next step...the GI Jane look!
I'm feeling well and trying to walk on my treadmill and drink my water as instructed.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Monday the 14th

Sunday was a very low energy day for me. I don't think I ever got out of my pajamas. Dr. Peacock had warned me it would hit me a couple of days after treatment. I guess I was hoping she was wrong, because I had felt so good on Saturday. I'm feeling better today, just trying not to over-do. I had a office visit this morning to have my expanders filled some more, that isn't comfortable, but it usually gets better after a day or so.

Also, my brother in law Alan lost his big sister Kay on Sunday. Kay has been battling cancer and other health conditions for some time now. Please keep the Bivens/Williams families in your prayers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Feeling good

So far so good, no problems. My face is a bit flushed, and I have a small bit of indigestion, much like I do when I over-indulge in Mexican food. We had a nice dinner of Chicken Parm and baked potatoes last night - Thank you Tara! It was nice not to have to cook after that long day at the doctor.

Thursday night our friend Chris took us out to eat at South Street and then I got to go hear the "Sowing Circle" (Bryan) play for an hour. It gets a little smoky in there, so I didn't stay too long. This is a group of musicians that get together to jam every Thursday night. http://www.myspace.com/thesowingcircle
Before their show started, they were playing the "Safety Suit" cd over the PA. If you haven't heard them before check them out. www.myspace.com/safetysuit My friend Carmen's husband is the lead singer. They are four really talented guys who went to ORU together, built a band and have signed a deal with Universal. (does this story sound familiar to anyone?) They are out touring right now, so support them if you see them in your town. They do a fantastic live show.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Chemo #1 is over!

Today was chemo #1 and I'm glad it's over. I got both chemo drugs today and tolerated it well. The clinic room has lazy boy type chairs, tv, snacks and wifi so we didn't have much time to get bored. We stopped at Panera Bread on the way home and got a sandwich, and then I came home and napped for a bit. I got up and was craving ice cream, so I had a delicious bowl of my favorite - chocolate almond!
Dr. Peacock said I may feel more tired by Sunday. She reminded me to pace myself during treatment, but expects it to all go smoothly. My pre-chemo PET scan, CT and labs I had yesterday were all normal. 
Keep those prayers and good thoughts coming - they are definitely helping!

For those medical friends who have asked:
My chemo treatment will be: Abraxene 151mg over 30 minutes weekly and Cytoxan 906mg over 40 minutes on the first day of each cycle, with Aloxi as a pre-med on the Cytoxan days. 
I will be getting 3-week (21 day cycles) for 4 cycles.


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Grateful

Thank you all for the support, prayers and the food. This has definitely been much easier to go through because of such great people surrounding me.
Here are just a few of them:
-Melodie popped in yesterday with a hug and daises and that MADE my day 
-Kathy brought me a Mp3 player loaded with audio books
-Denise has us her hooked on her homemade sourdough bread she's been delivering weekly
-Mickey shows up and waters my plants and reminds me to laugh (I think you'd make a cute bluebird)
-Angela sent me an edible fruit arrangement -these are so cute and so delicious
-The ladies at Maple Hill sent me a great lap quilt (Bryan's mom works with this fabulous group of ladies) 
-Sherron knitted me a cozy red prayer shawl
-Catherine - well she's my task manager -she seems to have everyone on email and lets anyone know if I have a need, sometimes before I know I have a need. Of course she makes the best jambalaya this side of New Orleans, and she even makes my portion half strength so I don't need prilosec.
-Rose makes the best baked Ziti there is -that girl cannot only write a hit song, but she can cook too!
-Teresa, Billy brought great cheesecake and casserole
-Rebecca made enough poppyseed chicken to feed my whole clan and it was awesome
-Carol and Joan sent a basket with all things needed: literature, writing, art and chocolate!
-Anna sent beautiful flowers 
-Elizabeth and Katie brought me my fruit parfait craving!
-JHo, Janie, Samara and Lisa sent me a great another edible arrangement with chocolate dipped strawberries just as we finished the first one
-Jenni and Chassi gave my house a pre-chemo scrubbing and disinfecting
-Oh and my sitters while I couldn't do much: Bryan, Amber, Sandy, Lori, Jenni, Kim and Lisa 

I'm sure I left someone off unintentionally, but I appreciate it all!!

Scans, Tests...

Today I woke up at 6am to drink "Berry Smoothie" flavored CT contrast - this name is very deceptive. It was "berry disgusting"! I had a PET scan and a CT of my abdomen, just for baseline pre-chemo preparation. Chemo #1 is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 8:45 am. 
Stop and say a quick prayer it all goes smoothly tomorrow.
Thank you all,
Laura

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Cute helmet

My favorite "Curly Girl" card has always been the one that says "Life is tough. I recommend getting a manicure and a really cute helmet."

Wow! I never knew how true that would become. I've been searching for two days for the perfect cute helmet and it's harder than I thought it would be. Chemo begins on Friday so I guess I'll go continue my search. Wish me luck!

www.curlygirldesign.com

Monday, July 7, 2008

Story of the day

Hard to impress because she's already seen the sun rise today and it doesn't get much better than that.~ Story People
www.storypeople.com

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Happy Birthday America!


We had a great 4th of July cookout with family. Have you ever watched the faces of 3 and 4 year olds when they saw fireworks for the first time? It's pretty special.



Here are two of my favorite quotes about Indpendence day:

"You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism." ~Erma Bombeck

"There, I guess King George will be able to read that."-- John Hancock

Healing and making progress

Last week I saw my surgeon and my physical therapist and they all feel I am healing well. I've been given clearance to resume walking and do more stretches, and in 3 weeks I can move on to some strength training.
I also got to go visit Gordian on Friday afternoon. It was great to see everyone's smiling face again. I'll be back to join you very soon!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Shopping...

As most of you know I love to shop! Bargain shopping especially is a hobby of mine, and I've almost mastered this process in stores and online. Now that I have some time off I have had more time to perusing the online selections and I thought I'd share a list of my favorite sites. Just remember if you are in store and see something you love and it's too expensive - write down the name on the label and google it - 75% of the time you can find it cheaper or there's always ebay!

http://www.femailcreations.com/

http://www.pajamagram.com/

http://www.uncommongoods.com/

http://wishingfish.com/accessories.html

http://www.sundancecatalog.com/

http://www.curlygirldesign.com/

http://www.patinastores.com/index.cfm

http://www.besodoso.com/catalog