Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Year Anniversary

I'm sorry it has been so long since I've updated my blog.  No news is good news however.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer December 1, 2010...... ONE YEAR AGO!!!!  In some ways it seems like yesterday and in some ways it seems like a life time ago.  Unbelievable.

I am doing wonderful and feeling well.  I had my 3 month check up last month and all my blood work is normal... Praise God.  I have to admit that a recurrence is always in the back of my mind but I don't obsess about it.  I'm thankful for today and that's all that matters.

Check out my hair :)  It came back snow white and curly.  I've decided to leave the color natural ..... it's growing on me.  I recently got a haircut and the curls are gone.  I'm sad about that, I really liked the ringlets.  It's great to have hair again, although the hair on my legs could have stayed away forever...hahaha. 

I'd like to wish each of you a very blessed Christmas and happy and HEALTHY 2012.

With Love,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Race for the Cure 2011

Yesterday I walked in the Susan G. Komen "Race for the Cure".  What a renewed hope, faith and thankfulness this day gave me.  It's unbelievable how many lives this ugly disease touches.  Megan, Cora and Georgia.... I walked in celebration of you, as well as my sister, Samantha, and wore all your names proudly. 

The day started at 6:30 am with the survivors breakfast.  Women of all ages that have survived breast cancer from months to 30+ years.  It was awesome.  I received hugs, smiles and encouragement from total strangers the whole time.  There were people as far as you could see.... tens of thousands of people......  We had over 40 people (47 to be exact) that walked for our team.  Our team raised over $1,600 for the cure, WOW. 

I made a picture collage of some picture from the walk.  Be sure to look at the collage in full screen mode and click on each picture to enlarge it.  Praying for a cure.............  Love to all.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I Have SURVIVED !!!!!!!

I know it's been a little while since I've updated my blog....sorry.  Chemo is a thing of the past (deep sigh).  It sounds so good to say that.  I still feel fatigued easily but getting stronger every day.  I will see the doctor every 3 months for the first year and have blood work done to watch my liver counts and cancer marker numbers. 

This Saturday is the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.  I am so proud of our little school (ECC team) who has raised over $1,500 for the cure.  My friends have designed a T-shirt honoring myself and a fellow co-worker and co-survivor, Eva.  I think our team has over 35 people at last count.  We are going to have so much fun, I'm so excited and honored.   I'm not brave enough to attempt the 5K, still too soon for that.... I'll be walking the 1 mile family fun walk.  Pray the rain holds off until after the race.

We had a wonderful Easter.  Spent the weekend with family in Tulsa.  Our 3 year old grandson had such a good time and is so stinkin cute, he loves hanging out with Mimi and Pappy. I have to admit that he wore me smack out though, lol.  If I could have 1/100th of his energy I would be good.  I will have him for a week in June so I better be working on my strength or I'll never make it.

I will try and update my blog occasionally and check in with everyone.  I will be working on losing some weight and building my stamina, walking and bike riding.  Wishing each of you health and happiness.  Until next time, may God bless and watch over you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The End's In Sight....

Hello to all family and friends.  It's been almost a week since my last treatment and I'm finally feeling almost human again.  Boy this Taxol is some really mean stuff.  It beats you to the ground and then backs over you with a semi truck.  I don't know how someone that's really elderly and frail could tolerate going through this treatment, my heart really goes out to them. 

Now the good news..... only ONE MORE treatment.  Mark your calendars..... "Wednesday, April 13th"... everyone say a little prayer thanking God for getting me through this nightmare.  The really crazy thing is, although I'm very excited about being through with chemo, I'm also very nervous and uneasy at the same time.  That sounds nuts, I know.  While this "poison" makes me sick, at least I feel protected knowing it's killing the cancer.  I can't seem to shake the feeling that this evil stuff is going to come back.  I guess that's normal and will get better with time, but I'm so nervous......and for those that know me, I'm not the nervous-nellie type.  I really even had second thoughts about writing about these feelings but they're there and are real.  I'm going to work extra hard at cherishing my accomplishments and many blessings.  Please pray God rains peace over me. 

I'm not sure what the plans are after chemo is over, I guess we'll discuss that at my last treatment.  I have been advised to keep my infusion port for at least 6 months, "just in case".  That kind of makes your heart sink but I'll take their advice and keep it.  I'm looking forward to warm weather, bike riding, motorcycle riding, long walks, gardening, fishing and HAIR, lol. 

I hope this finds all of you happy and healthy.  Love to all and until next time God bless.

Friday, March 18, 2011

No Pain, No Gain........

Well it's Friday afternoon, two days after treatment and I made it through the work day :)  The bone pain started this morning and got worse as the day went on but I made it!!!!  Now I'm ready for my yummy narcotic, heating pad and a Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza, lol.  Taxol may cause pain but I'm not nauseated AT ALL, praise the Lord.  I've gained 10 lbs since starting chemotherapy, good grief.  I feel a diet coming on after this is all over. 

I feel so blessed today.  I have so many people who truly care about me.  I have the best work family who look after me and encourage me every day.  They mean the world to me. 

Only 2 more treatments to go, I can't believe it.  Wow, this has been such a life changing event and not in a bad way.  I've met so many wonderful people as a result of my cancer and have a complete different appreciation of life, family and friends.  So, a little bone pain will NOT get me down...... No pain, no gain...and I have a lot to gain.  I have already won this battle, I'm claiming it right now!!!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful, restful weekend.  I'm looking forward to Spring Break next week and a few days in Hot Springs with great friends.  Life is GREAT, thank you Jesus.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Calm Before the Storm

Sitting here dreading chemo tomorrow.  It's so hard to do something you know is going to make you feel so bad, but yet you know it will save your life so you go with a smile on your face.....okay maybe the smile is a stretch.

I wanted to have some pictures of me during this season of life.  My sister never took a picture of herself, bald, while going through chemo.  I want to document my fight and victory, so Bryan and I had some pictures made.  Here is the scrapbook I made so I can look back on this time and smile.

Tomorrow is chemo day, say a prayer that it goes well and that I don't have much pain afterwards.

Love to all...... Connie

Monday, March 7, 2011

Back to the World of the Living.......

Thank you for the concerned e-mails I've received.  I know it's been a while since I've posted, this last chemo treatment has really kicked my butt.

I had my first treatment with the new drug (poison) Taxol.  I was so nervous to receive this drug because it has a high rate of allergic reactions.  When I say allergic reactions, I mean allergic reactions.... swelling, difficulty breathing, low blood pressure, cardiac arrest.  They pumped me full of medications (Benadryl, steriods, anti-nausea med, Pepsid) before hand to hopefully avoid any reactions.  I was so drunk from the Benadryl I could hardly see straight, the room was spinning.  Well, it worked....I didn't have an allergic reaction, praise God.

Although nausea is less common with this drug, it causes bone/muscle pain and peripheral neuropathy.  By the time I got home from work on Friday I was so fatigued I could hardly move.  I actually had to sit in my car for a few minutes when I got home just to get enough strength to get out and walk into the house.  I've been short of breath with the slightest activity.  Then the bone/muscle pain came.  It felt like I had been hit by a truck, hurt to move at all.  I finally gave in (at the insistence of my husband) and took a pain pill on Saturday.  I'm trying to keep my head up but it's hard some days, it's getting very depressing.  It feels like all this poison is killing me.  It makes it so hard to walk into the cancer treatment center for my next treatment, knowing what it's going to make me feel like afterwards.  Pray that this cancer does not recur because I truly don't know if I could go through all this again.

The good news is, today is Monday and I feel much better.  I haven't had any peripheral neuropathy yet and pray that I don't.  I don't know how I will be able to work if I can't feel my fingers....  It's true what they say, "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger".  Don't worry, I'm not slipping into the depths of depression....just tired of chemo and ready for it to be over.  Pray that my next treatment goes smoothly, without allergic reaction, and that the pain is minimal.  I appreciate all your prayers and caring messages.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Halfway There !!!!!

Well, as of last Wednesday, I am officially halfway through with chemo..... Whoo Hooo.  I am completely through with the Cytoxin and Adriamycin (the red devil) drugs.  Now I will be receiving Taxol every other week for 4 treatments.  I should be done the end of April.  I am counting down the days.  This last treatment has been the best so far.  I really haven't had any nausea, just tired.  I pray the next drug goes as well.

I received the results of my genetic testing.  Of coarse I couldn't be normal and just be negative or positive.  No, I have to get some crazy results "Genetic Variant of Uncertain Significance".  It comes with a letter saying there is something wrong with your DNA, we're just not sure exactly what.  The letter states they may want to test family members, "free of charge", to do further studies.  The results really don't have any bearing on me, since I've already had a double mastectomy but are invaluable to my family members.  Interesting, we'll see what happens. 

We survived the snow storms of the century.  I missed 10 days of school because of them, we won't be out of school until mid June at this rate, ugh.  Bryan got me to each chemo treatment, thank goodness.  The storms fell perfectly so as not to interfere with my chemo treatments, I was worried that my schedule would be thrown off.  Now that it's warmer, we have actually been walking after work.  I'm trying to build up my strength and stamina.  It felt so good to be outside in the sunshine and out of this house, I was going stir crazy. 

Hope this finds you well and until next time, love to all.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Treatment #3

I had my chemo treatment #3 yesterday thankfully.....I say thankfully because we are in the middle of a winter blizzard.  The clinic opened late (at 10:00 am) but Bryan got me there.  All my blood counts were perfect, praise God.  Dr. Rosenfeld asked how my appetite has been, to which I replied "I eat everything in sight".  He laughed and said that was all the steroids they are giving me.  Needless to say, I haven't lost any weight.  The snow days off school are a God send, giving me extra time to rest.  Remind me I said this when June rolls around, hahaha.  I got to meet one of my fellow blog sisters that was receiving her first treatment.....good luck Georgia, praying for you.

I have had MAJOR hot flashes this go around.  I woke up all night soaking wet, then freezing, then soaking wet.....a little nausea thrown in there.  Today I'm just tired and have slept a lot.  Good thing I'm off work and can sleep all I want.  We had to venture out again today to go get my shot to keep my blood counts up.  We are supposed to get more snow tomorrow, Sunday, Monday and next Wednesday, ugh.  Come on summer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The "Boobie" Prize

Well, happy day.... the boobies have arrived.  I went to a specialty store in Tulsa on 12-23-10 to order my breast prostheses.  After my fitting I was informed, "I'm sorry, but we only have one and will have to order the other".  Are you kidding me?  They went on to inform me that, because of the holidays, the company they ordered from would be closed for 2 weeks.  Well, that's just great...but what do you do? 

After many follow-up phone calls, the store finally received my order and shipped the package to me REGULAR mail.  Good grief, you would think that at almost $200 a boob, over a month later, and the fact that there is a woman having to walk around with a boy chest, that they would at least overnight express it to me.  Real compassionate people, huh? 

The "girls" are precious, if I may say so myself.  I couldn't wait to wear them to work, only to be disappointed that no one really even noticed.  Now I know that nursing scrubs aren't the most flattering of clothes, but surely someone would notice.  Just goes to show you that the flaws you think are a huge deal, others don't even notice.  Peoplpe love you for what's on the inside, not the outside.

Of course, I wasn't going to let them go unnoticed.... so I pointed them out to everyone, lol.  Many had questions why I had to wear a special bra, why I couldn't just stuff them in my regular bra (like we did in high school).  The special bra has little pockets to secure the "girls", otherwise they ride up and over, and before you know it.... your walking down the hall and one of the "girls" fly out on to the floor, smiling and waving at you.  You could be standing in the produce department at WalMart and holy nuts, she jumps out and there she lies.

Work has been great this week.  My girlfriends wore hats with me everyday, they are the best friends ever.  Tomorrow Bryan and I are going to Tulsa to see our grandson, Hunter.  I can't wait to get my hands on that precious little man.  Tell someone you LOVE them today..........

Happy moments, praise God
Difficult moments, seek God
Quiet moments, worship God
Painful moments, trust God
Every moment, thank God

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Hat Shopping

Good day.  No nausea, yay!!!!!!  We had a nice lunch at Applebees and then off to hunt for hats.  We had a good time.  Check out the cow hat Bryan thought I needed for the kids at school......I passed, lol.

Friday, January 21, 2011

"Hair" today.... gone tomorrow......

I had my 2nd Chemo treatment last Wednesday, which went well.  We had a snow storm that night which closed school yesterday and today, giving me extra days to rest.  So far I've just been a little queasy off and on, I have good drugs for that...... and a little tired, nothing a nap won't take care of.

My hair started coming out Wednesday morning (day 14).  It was just several strands when I brushed my hair, but I could tell that it was different.  This morning, Friday, it was coming out by the handfuls and getting everywhere.  We decided tonight would be the night to shave it all off.  The day I have been dreading. 

This is something you never want to have to ask your husband to do for you but he was a trooper, as usual.  He promised to take me hat shopping tomorrow...... Bryan never passes up a shopping trip, haha.  The actual shaving process was surprisingly unemotional.  I think I had prepared myself pretty well.  I look at it this way... if the chemo is killing my hair, it's killing the cancer.  The look will defiantly take some getting used to. 

Here are some pictures of the new "bald" me.  I will post some more after hat shopping......  :)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

It's All About Attitude

My friends know how nervous I'm getting about the day I lose my hair.  A dear friend sent me an email with a note that it reminded her of me.  I laughed out loud when I read it and absolutely loved it.  I want to share it with you........


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!"

Attitude is EVERYTHING........

Remember to take time to pray and thank God for every day.  Love you all :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Roller Coaster

Everything I read before I started chemo mentioned having good days and bad days, and fatigue.  Being a very high-energy person, I really never experienced fatigue before so I wasn't exactly sure what that would feel like.  Well, what "they" say is true.  It's crazy how different I feel from one day to the next.  Yesterday I was so weak, hungry, tired and COLD.  I had the strongest craving for pot roast.... I couldn't shake the craving.  I don't know if my blood counts were down and I needed protein or just what it was, but I couldn't get pot roast out of my head.  I found a local restaurant that had pot roast on their menu and picked an order up after school.  It was the BEST meal I've ever had, isn't that funny.  Then I crawled up in my lounger with piles of covers trying to get warm.  I was so tired and achy, praying I wasn't getting sick.  I finally gave up and went to bed about 7:30-8:00.  Today I feel absolutely WONDERFUL..... strong, warm, happy, great appetite.  Isn't that crazy..... I now know what it means to take one day at a time.

P.S.- the hair is still hanging on for dear life, ha ha ha. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Taking It Easy....

Thursday and Friday after chemo were really uneventful.  I felt well and enjoyed work.  Those 240 little 4 and 5 year olds keep me going, I just love them.

Saturday was another story.....  The nausea hit hard and heavy.  Nothing really set well and as a result I didn't eat too much all day.  I can tolerate pain so much better than I can nausea.  Smells really have an effect on me.  Coffee smells horrible, and I LOVE coffee.  Really strange.  I just laid as still as I could, eating soda crackers and sipping water, napping when I could.  It was a really looooong day.

I woke up this morning feeling good, my stomach grumbling.  Pancakes (of all things) sounded so good.  My sweet Bryan went immediately and got me some.  I have to say, they were the best pancakes ever.  A baked potato with mac n'cheese for lunch and I'm still feeling good, thank goodness.  My hair is hanging on tight, I haven't noticed any on my pillow yet.

It would be great if this was as bad as it is going to get but I know I'm just fooling myself.  I haven't had any of the bone pain they kept warning me about so maybe it won't be too bad.  I'll just try to take it one day at a time.  I have to admit that when I was laying there sick Saturday, 6 months of this was overwhelming to me.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Chemotherapy Treatment

GREAT news........ my PET scan was normal, praise God.  I was really anxious and am so relieved, I needed to have some good news.  I am smiling ear to ear, can you see it?

My first chemo treatment went smooth as silk.  I didn't even feel it when she stuck my port for the infusion.  The oncology nurses are just super.  They are a wealth of information and encouragement.  It wasn't all doom and gloom there either, it was really kind of fun.  It was a huge room of recliners with patients receiving their treatments.  It was comical to watch the patients, you know I'm a people watcher.  Some of them (especially the little old men) were really funny.  I was there about 4 1/2 hours.  It didn't hurt or make me feel different in any way (YET).  We're off and running.......  My hair should start to "turn loose" in the next week to 2 weeks. 

Here is a picture of me receiving my first chemo treatment.  Life is precious people, enjoy every second.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Port and PET Scan

I had surgery yesterday morning to place my infusion port for chemo and it went well.  We were home by noon.  I find it interesting though that I had a double mastectomy without having any bruising at all, I had a little port inserted and have quite a lot of bruising..... go figure.  Pretty sore to boot.

I have my PET scan tonight at 5:30, I pray for good results that the cancer hasn't spread anywhere else.  I hope to know the results when I go for my first chemo treatment tomorrow.  I'll let you know how that goes, ugh......

I went back to work today after being gone a month.  It sure felt good to be back.  I walked into my office to find a dozen pink roses and pink balloons on my desk, my office door was decorated in pink with "welcome back" and every employee in the entire school wore pink for me.  Made me feel so loved.  I'm not really very emotional, but this really touched me.  I have the best friends in the whole world.