Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Monday, June 30, 2014

Round 3: Now I know

Normally I get my chemo on a Thursday then 24 hours later get my Neulasta shot. That injection is what keeps my white cell count up so I can fight infections.

But last week I had a little glitch with my gallbladder, causing chemo to be postponed until Friday. That meant I had to wait until today (Monday) for my Neulasta shot. I also got rehydrated.

Interestingly I didn't sleep for the first 4 day after chemo. Instead I've had a hard time sleeping much at all. A couple hours here and there. But today I got that Neulasta shot, and now I know what makes me sick. Its that shot! The bone pain started within 2 hours of the shot (I knew the bone pain was from the shot) and tonight I'm exhausted and running a temp.

I only have one round left. I'd really like to do that round without the shot. Its not like I have another 12 rounds left of counts going up and down. Its my last one. I wasn't feeling too bad until that shot today. I'll talk to my doctor about it when I see her on Thursday.

Thats the update for now. I'm headed to bed and will probably not be online much over the next couple of days. Trying to let my body recover so I can participate in our Nation's holiday this weekend. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

When the kids are away

When the kids are away, Dudley finds someone else to take care of. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Man in the Mirror

When I found out I was going to be loosing my hair I shaved it off. I have control issues, you know. I ordered some fun hats and one ministry sent me a beautiful scarf, which I love. As my hair has fallen out I've discovered I have a terrible memory (gasp) and would often realize I had left the house without bringing any head cover with me.

I also discovered I am SO HOT!!!

No, no. Not "Hot" like I should be in magazines (just the thought makes me laugh) but HOT as in I am constantly sweating. I wouldn't call it  hot flashes, but more like living in the dessert with the sun beating down on me kind of hot. My head is constantly sweating and I just can't stand wearing anything on my head anymore, so I go without.

Yes, that's right! I just go out in the world bald as a cue ball, not really caring what other people think. At least most of the time.

A couple days ago I was in Walmart to get something for the boys. We were in the isle with the water toys when one of the associates asked, "Are you finding everything you need sir?"


I didn't know how to respond so I didn't respond at all.

A few minutes later in the check out line the clerk asked, "And how are you today sir?"


"My day is going GREAT! But I'm a ma'am. Still, its a beautiful day and life is grand!"

He was so apologetic. He felt terrible.

"Don't worry about it. Happens all the time!" I smiled.

Because, in fact, it had happened in my own home!

The other night I was in the bathroom helping Angela with something. I turned to get something out of the linen closet and nearly jumped a bit when I noticed a man standing behind me. Oh! It was my own reflection in the mirror.

Good grief!

Happy Thursday from the chemo chair!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Kinder Eggs

When I was in Serbia to bring Audrey home I intended to do a blog post about Kinder Eggs, which never happened so here it is!

Kinder Eggs can be found in much of Europe. The toys inside are considered collector items by a lot of kids. Kinder eggs are banned in the US because they inside parts are considered a choking hazard.

The pictures are pretty self explanatory but what you can't get from them is the deliciousness of the chocolate!  My thumb is in the pictures so you can get an idea of size.

Park Pics

We have this little park a few blocks away (just out of walking range for a couple of our people). We love to take the kids up there!

Asher is usually hanging on or climbing up something. 
 He has no fear of anything.

Mooooom!!! Take my picture up here!

Axel spent a lot of time trying
to teach Abel how to pump his legs.
Abel is SO CLOSE to doing it himself.

The look when I tell him, "Sorry buddy,
 you have to do it yourself."

Mooommm! Take a picture of me here!

Not really caring for the weird toy on springs.

Angela declared this "The jail". 

Then hollered for Asher to come get her out. 
Asher was game! 

Ummm..what if I want to leave her in there?

Audrey loves the toddler swings.

Unfortunately she is not really a fan of the climbing part.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Father's Day

Please excuse my lack of posts lately. It takes me 8-10 days to recover from chemo and then a few more days before my brain is really able to formulate thoughts and by then there is just too much going on for me to post.

Anyway, on Father's Day we just hung out here at home. I was just starting to feel well again but didn't have much energy to burn yet. We took the kids to a nice little park just up the street where they had a good time playing.

Every day I'm thankful for this man God brought into my life. I could not have asked for a better dad for our kids!
Whatcha doing Daddy?

Oh! Pulling those weeds? 

You look like you need someone on your lap to help.

I love when you whisper on my ear.

Thank you for being my daddy!

Friday, June 06, 2014

Happy 18th Birthday!

Happy 18th birthday to The Queen today! 

She arrived a bit earlier than expected at 4 lb 4 oz. and was immediately airlifted to the children's hospital in the middle of tornado weather. That's so typical of Angela! Stir things up a bit just to keep things exciting.

She finally came home from the hospital at 6 weeks old weighing 4 lbs even! I went out and bought a doll that came with 3 dresses so I had some clothes to put her in. LOL Now today, 18 years later, Angela continues to amaze us with her tenacity, her ability to love unconditionally, her sensitive and nurturing heart. When she is done with school she wants to work at the children's hospital in the pre-op area, helping kids not be afraid before surgeries. That's my girl!!!

Happy birthday Angela!

If you wouldn't mind saying a quick prayer for Angela. Her asthma is really bad right now and we're working hard to keep her out of the ER. She's complaining that her chest hurts so I give her two - 3 hours for the steroids to kick in and if that doesn't improve then we go. 

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

How to kick chemo's ass

Would you like to know how to kick chemo's ass?

Then you have come to the wrong blog because I don't really know! I do know that chemo does a pretty good job of kicking MY ass, but I rally around day 11. ;-)

In my last cancer related post I mentioned that things were not so good. The first 10 days after treatment I lost 11 lbs, had to get IV fluids three time and had diarrhea every 30-60 minutes - round the clock - for 12 days. But I made it through and on day 12 I was starting to feel close to myself again.

I had been told that on day 14  magic switch goes off and I would start loosing my hair. They were right, I just assumed it would be the hair on my head first! Around day 12 or so I started sneezing nasal hairs. That was pleasant! LOL On day 14, sure enough, I started loosing my hair, except that it was pubic hair, followed a couple days later by my armpit hair. The hair on my head started falling out a tiny bit on day 16 and by day 17 I had patchy hair loss. On day 18 I shaved it down really short. (because it wasn't short enough before. LOL)

This picture was taken yesterday, day 19. 
I have large patches gone on the side of my head. Of course, 
its the gray hairs that are still firmly attached! 
The back of my head has many dime-sized patches gone.
(Note to self: selfies from the side are tricky!! 
And I have no idea what the blue mark is on my 
mouth, its not on the original picture. Weird! ) 

Yesterday the hair on ONE of my legs was gone. Today its gone on both legs and the hair on my arms is starting to fall off. Its just all really odd!!! You touch it and it just falls off. My eye lashes have thinned out and I expect them to be gone soon. So far my eye brows are still intact. 

On Thursday (June 5th) I'll be having my second round of chemo. I met with my oncologist yesterday to get my counts and go over some things. The side effects I had last time were pretty severe, the most concerning being the GI related stuff and my doctor is worried about me developing colitis. 

I need to clarify since there is some misunderstanding. I am not AT ALL nauseous. I get three different anti-nausea meds via IV with my chemo, plus oral steroids for the next two days. My GI problems are all diarrhea. The two anti-diarrheals I took last time didn't really do anything for me. Well, maybe they decreased the episodes to 10 times a day instead of 20+. I think what helped more was three consecutive days of IV fluids which allowed my body to recover a bit. 

Because the two drugs I'm getting have a cumulative effect my oncologist believes my side effects could be worse with this second round so we've made some changes. This time I'm going to be starting oral steroids the day before treatment, (which is tomorrow)  then I'll have the IV steroids with chemo, then orals again for the next two days. I'll also start the anti-diarrheal meds the day before. On Friday when I have my neulasta shot I'll get a bag of IV fluids and then again on Monday. 

As for the bone pain, that is caused by the Neulasta shot that I get on Friday. There isn't really much we can do about it, but if it gets too bad I won't wait so long and I will go into the ER for some IV pain meds. At least I know that only lasts 3 or 4 days and then its done! 

I'm pretty much dreading this round, but you can bet I'll be ticking the days off on the calendar knowing by day 10 or 11 I'll be feeling much better and will get 10 really good days. And after this round I'l be half done!! After that? 35 radiation treatments! Woot woot!

Dog Day

Memorial weekend I put out a call for help on Facebook. My dogs were a MESS and desperately in need of grooming. Unfortunately I just didn't have the energy to get them all done myself like I usually do and didn't really have the money to spend on professional grooming. But, my dog trainer friends came through and we had a little grooming party here. A HUGE thank you to Abby, Deb, Christie and Lori for all your help!!!

 My little man Roman feels SO much better! 

Zurri thinks the grooming table is a good napping spot. 

Dudley had a bit of a break when my 8 hp dryer blew the circuit. 

Back to the table Dudley! 

Looking good guys!!! Thanks again to my good friends for helping out!