Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ho Ho Ho!

I ended up getting my results from my PET scan yesterday. Not a good Christmas present. Compared to my last scan in September, I have more cancer in my liver, lungs, bones, and some lymph nodes among other places. And mysteriously my tumor marker is going down. My doctor said maybe the cancer isn't producing the tumor marker anymore. Cancer is a sly thing and can change on you. My doctor suggested switching to another chemo called Taxol. I shouldn't have much nausea with this one (YAY!) but it can cause pain (sometimes severe) and pain and tingling in the hands. And I will lose all my hair.


Is anyone up for fasting? We're having a fast this Sunday December 28th. I feel like I need all the help I can get to make the right choices and to handle whatever comes. I still would like a miracle--but that's up to God. Right now I'm just going off of faith that He's watching over us and whatever happens, things will be okay.

Hope your Christmas is Merry!!!
Love you all!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A PET scan for Christmas

I get to go have a PET scan Monday morning to see where the cancer is in my body these days (it's been about three months or so since my last one). I have an appointment at Huntsman Tuesday to get my blood tested and probably to talk with my Dr. about the scan results. I'm not sure I want to hear anything till after Christmas. I'll post results when I get them.

For Christmas, I want to feel as peaceful as this picture looks:

This was the view off my deck one night last week.

Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas with lots of love from me!!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm thankful for Bry who draws me a bath every night for my achy bones, who rubs my back for hours in the middle of the night when I can't sleep and who would rather be with me than anyone else. He even does the dishes most nights and vacuums!!

I'm thankful for Joe and Sam--who love to sit on the heater in the mornings while they eat breakfast. They learned this from me. I couldn't ask for better boys. They bring a smile to my face.

After feeling really yucky and nauseous and like my ribs and back are falling apart--and feeling sorry for myself--I got a call last night from my nurse. I didn't want to talk with her because I figured it was bad news with how crappy I've been feeling. When she said I'd be thankful to hear it, I let her tell me: my tumor marker is at 1,500!! That's over 1,000 lower than last time, and I havent been in the 1,000's for a long time! The chemo must be working (along with all my homeopathic and herbal stuff). So the nausea isn't so bad if I know it's helping me stay alive longer.

Last week was a really tough week for both Bry and me, but at the end of the week I looked back and realized how many people did nice things for us. The good definitely outweighed the bad--and I was amazed at how many acts of kindness we were blessed with. I am so grateful for good family and friends!! We love you all!!

It's all in how you look at things. There is always going to be the negative--but if you look for the positive--it's always there too. Even in the worst circumstances there is always something to be thankful for.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I've had some amazing pain and nausea this week. Sometimes we may think that what we're going through is bad, and then when it gets worse, the bad doesn't seem so bad any more. There are so many levels of opposition. It's like a video game--when you pass one level, you get to move to the next, and then the next. The higher you go, the better you get at it--and the more points you get!!

Last night I was feeling like I was done. Done with all the medications, done with feeling pain and yuck and nausea. I'm just a wimp when it comes to these things. I know it can get much worse--but I was feeling like I had hit my limit.

For inspiration I opened my trusty little book, "Stand A Little Taller" by Gordon B. Hinckley. It said:

I know there are a lot of us who are going through major struggles. Hopefully this encourages you like it did me!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pretty in Pink

My sister-in-law Emily e-mailed me this photo--and I had to share it!

I've had two weeks on the chemo pills and almost two weeks off. I'm on an off week, but haven't felt too good yet. Today was the best so far, but the evening was yucky again. It's the yucky/nauseous feeling like when you're pregnant--only I'm not throwing up--I just feel a constant yuck. I've had a little back pain as well. None of this is really horrible, just the thought that this is the rest of my life possibly (I'm still waiting for the cure!). It helps to stay busy and not think about me. There's always worse things. Best to look at the positive. I am grateful for every day that I'm still here.

Last night I was reminded by a friend of one of many amazing moments I've had while dealing with this cancer. The more I thought about it, I realized I've had numerous incredible experiences that have left no doubt in my mind that God lives and cares about me (and you too!). So even though sometimes I might get a little fearful or feel a little (or even a lot) yucky-- I know that everything will be okay because God is watching over me and will take care of me and my family.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Feeling hopeful!

I missed most of the Saturday morning Conference Session from two weeks ago, so I've been watching the archives. I felt like the whole conference was just what I needed to hear. A few nights ago as I was watching, I absolutely loved President Uchtdorf's talk--so in case you're interested, here's the link:
(You have to hit the bottom right arrow twice until you get to the last talk (President Dieter Uchtdorf) and click on his picture.)

I've been doing well on my week off the chemo pills. I'll start again on Monday for another week. I also have a Huntsman appointment on Tuesday to check my blood counts. I'm hoping that miraculously my numbers will be so great they'll take me off the chemo. Is that positive thinking or denial? Either way, it feels good to have hope.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So far so good!

I've been on my new chemo pills for two days and have felt pretty good! I am a bit tired, but I think I was that way before. I felt a little nauseous this morning, but after a chewing on some ginger I felt much better. I'll be taking 2 pills twice a day for seven days on then seven days off. I need to talk with my homeopathic Dr. to know if I should only be taking his remedies on my off weeks.

Here's beautiful Alaska from last week's trip.

There's a lot of glaciers up there!

It was amazingly sunny for the six days we were there. People said it was incredible to have so many days together where it was clear--in fact this past summer they hardly had three sunny days together. The weather forcast said it would rain the entire time we were going to be there. God knew I needed some sunshine. It's been snowing since we left.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Gone to Alaska

Hello from Alaska!!
I hitched a ride here with Bry since he was heading here for work.
The mountains are amazing and the fall colors are gorgeous!!
We hiked the mountain behind me last night.

I've decided to start chemo treatment #2 (see below) when I get back and we'll see how it goes. For now--I'm trying to forget about that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

PET Scan Results

I talked with my oncologist on Saturday, and she said there's a little more cancer in my liver, so she suggested trying a new treatment. She gave me some different options and said it's not an emergency, so I have time to think it over. I'll call her back with my decision--or to talk more about it on Friday (Sept. 26th).

Switch from taking Femara every day to taking Faslodax (hormone therapy drugs). She said she'd give this a 20% chance of working.

Chemotherapy in the form of a pill called Xeloda that I'd take twice a day (3 pills at a time). She gives this about a 40% chance of working.

Chemo in the form of an IV of Adriamycin (probably every three weeks--I'm guessing)--possibly along with a pill called Sutent.

Chemo in the form of an IV of Taxol--along with a pill called Avastin.

Each of these has their own set of lovely side effects. My oncologist seems to lean toward option 2.

I will also be meeting with my Homeopathic Dr. by videoconference on Tuesday to discuss whether I need to change any of my homeopathic remedies. I feel they've been working since my blood has improved (red, white blood cell counts). Now if we could just get the liver cleaned up.

And who knows--maybe death is inevitable (well--of course it is-- we're all going to die someday)--but I still cling to the hope for a miracle. So either I'll be miraculously cured, or I'll miraculously die.

Bry says he feels like we have a steam roller slowly coming towards us. We can see it coming, but aren't sure exactly when it's going to hit. Well, isn't that lovely. Happy thoughts!!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Pray for good PET scan results!!

My latest Huntsman appointment was Sept. 2nd--and my blood counts were looking better. My oncologist was quite pleased and said she'd call me the next day to let me know what my tumor marker number was. Well, I got the call, --and it wasn't too good. My marker went up by around 1,400. I'm at about 3,500. My oncologist said not to be discouraged, but that we should do another PET scan soon just to see what's going on inside my body. My scan will be on Friday. So I have three days to get rid of the cancer inside my body so I can have a great scan (is that possible?). Maybe it was just a bad day when they took my blood. I'm feeling pretty good--and I felt great the day I had my blood drawn. I'm sure the tumor marker is going down now--because it does seem to do a roller-coaster thing.

Anyway--we should get results by early next week at the latest. Who knows--maybe even later on Friday.

Wondering what a tumor marker is? You can check it out here:

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Huntsman Appointment

For the most part I remain positive and feel pretty good.
My appointment days are harder because it reminds me that I have cancer--something I try not to think about too much.

8:45-9:30 am
Endure three different people attempting to start my IV and get a blood draw. After much poking and digging around, they settled on using a smaller needle to just get a blood draw and skip the IV (which was fine with me, since I didn't want to get my bone-strengthener this time). It seriously felt like torture, and I wanted to cry not only because it hurt and made me feel sick, but because of the whole reason I was there. I was feeling very sorry for myself and nearly in tears as I walked back out to the waiting room and saw a very thin woman there with short hair and patches of bald crying loudly to the nurse sitting next to her.

9:45-10:30 am
I had an exam with a resident doctor (it's a teaching hospital) who was very kind and thorough. She seemed a bit frustrated and angry with me at the end of the appointment when I told her I didn't want my bone strengthener this time. She said my cancer metastases were severe and that I could never get back the time I would lose by skipping a month. I felt like I would be fine and waited to see my real doctor (Sandra Buys).

10:45-11:15 am
Dr. Buys came in, sat down next to me, and put her arm around me. She smiled and asked how things were going and asked what I wanted to do. I repeated that I wanted to try skipping the Aredia (bone-strengthener) for a month since I'd been having some side effects (aches and pains)--and simply because I thought I was getting too much and wanted to try cutting back on it. She said that would be just fine. I love my doctor.

I then waited for the nurse to come give me my Lupron shot, and we (Bry and I) visited the Cancer Learnng Center and checked out some CDs on relaxation/meditation. I need to learn to relax. My stomach is constantly in a knot and my teeth are gritted together--even when I sleep!!

Then Bry and I went out to lunch at Kyoto.

Dr. Buys later called to let me know that my tumor marker had gone up, but only slightly (by about 90) which she wasn't concerned about. She said we'll probably do some scans again in a month or so. My blood counts remain about the same (they're slightly low).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Next appointment coming soon!

Tuesday August 5th is my next appointment at Huntsman--and I'll have my latest blood counts (with results by Wednesday).
Feeling Good! Just a few achy nights--a few due to exercise and one was pretty bad--probably due to my medications which cause bone, joint and muscle pain.

My new motto is NO FEAR!! Whenever I have an ache or pain that worries me, I have to remind myself to push the fear out of my head. There's just not a lot of good fear does for you.

My next Homeopathic Dr. visit is Tuesday, August 12th.

Friday, July 11, 2008

I'm good for the next four weeks!

I had my appointment at Huntsman on Tuesday the 8th, and my blood counts are a little better than before (white/red blood cells, platelets and hematocrit). My tumor marker went down again by about 300. This means I'm good for another four weeks until my next blood test.

Here's a photo of me with my IV line in my arm. I had about 40 minutes to wait for infusion, so I decided to go check out the trails behind Huntsman rather than sit and wait.

I went to my homeopathic doctor in California last Thursday (July 3rd) and got a new set of remedies to take. It was a very quick trip--we (Bry and I) flew in, had lunch, went to the Dr. and flew out.

I'm feeling pretty well--just a little achy in the legs and joints--which is probably due to my medications from Huntsman.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Next update coming soon!

I'm going to visit my doctor in Irvine, CA on Thursday July 3rd.
My next appointment with my oncologist at Huntsman is Tuesday, July 8th.

I'll post my test results after the visits.

So far, so good--I'm feeling pretty well. My only pain is from lifting weights and exercise.

Monday, June 9, 2008


I called Huntsman this morning to get the results from my blood test. My estrogen levels are really low like they're supposed to be because of my medication--which means it's working. And the really good news is my tumor marker number has gone down by 1,000!! Which means I don't have to do chemo for now--or have my ovaries out.

Maybe the homeopathic stuff I'm taking is working. I'm also avoiding all sugar (bummer!) and dairy and eating lots of veggies, fruit and wholegrains. For meat I can have white fish or salmon as well as cornish game hen or organic chicken (that's my diet from the homeopathic Dr.).

Thanks everybody for the prayers--they're helping!!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Waiting for Test Results

At my appointment Friday, June 6th, my oncologist said my white blood cell and platelet numbers are going down and that the red blood cell count will soon follow. We're waiting for results that will come Monday or Tuesday that will determine what treatment I will have next. If my estrogen level is high, we'll know that my Femara pill I take every day isn't working, and my oncologist suggests removing my ovaries if this is the case. If my estrogen levels are low, the suggestion is that I start chemotherapy--that is unless some drastic improvement happens with my tumor marker number (and we'll know that number Monday or Tuesday).

I personally don't want to do either of these things. Chemo sounds especially awful, since last time I had it my white blood cell count went really low--and this time I'd be starting out low. I'm not sure how well I would tolerate it this time.

I may suggest to my doctors to let me go another month to see what happens.
We'll see!

One way or another it will all work out.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Quick Update

Last week I went to the Homeopathic doctor in Irvine CA again. I have a whole new bunch of remedies to take. Let's hope they do some good! I'll be going to Huntsman this Friday (June 6th) for my monthly blood tests, IV meds, and shot. Pray that the tumor marker numbers are lowering--or at least stable!

I've been feeling pretty good overall--as long as I push away any fear that enters my mind.

Here's my team at the Race For the Cure in May:

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back from vacation--got test results

Last Friday I had a LONG day at Huntsman (from 7 am until 6 pm). I had a PET scan, doctor visit and IV medication--each taking a few hours, with waiting in between.
Saturday the 10th my mom's side of the family and I did the Susan G. Komen Race For the Cure--it was amazing!! THANKS EVERYONE!!
Sunday we left for San Diego--it was so great!! We just sat and played on the beach most of the time.

Photo thanks to our good friend Christy Johnson who took us to an awesome beach in Laguna area!

The results from my PET scan and bloodwork on Friday, May 9 are:
liver looks better than last scan
bones either have more cancer or are rebuilding--it's hard to tell (let's hope they're building)
my tumor marker number went up by about 1,000 (wow!!--that's not so great)

For now, we're just continuing treatment without changes. I'm taking my new homeopathic remedies--I'm on the third week now.

Feeling Good!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The last week and a half:

Last Sunday my sister Suzanne came from Illinois to visit, on Tuesday a friend (Cory Alldredge) died of cancer, on Wednesday Suz and I flew to Irvine, CA to visit a Homeopathic Dr., Thursday and Friday Suz and I went to BYU Women's Conference , and on Saturday my sister left for home while I went to my friend Cory's funeral.
I was an emotional mess. I've been nauseous and my head, neck and shoulder muscles in painful knots.
I'm trying to pull myself together this week. Bry hasn't had a paycheck for a month and a half and we lose our health insurance by June. It's hard not to feel a bit of fear--but I'm confident things will work out.
I have a PET scan Friday at Huntsman to see where the cancer is. I'm also scheduled to get my blood tests, bone treatment and shot that day. It sounds like a long day--and I actually want to reschedule it for next week, because we're going on a little family trip Sunday, and if the test results are not so good, I'd rather hear about it after our vacation so I can enjoy myself.
Saturday is the Race for the Cure!! I'm looking forward to it!! My cousin Lindsay set up a team, "Jenn's Joggers" and it will be so fun to see everyone there. If you're interested, the link is and you click on the "Race for the Cure" link to register.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

There's a little book that I like to read to give me a boost--

with quotes for each day of the year.

Last Nov. when I found out my cancer had returned, I opened the book to my birthday, looking for words to cheeer me up
(the first part isn't so bad, it's the second paragraph I have trouble with):
Consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. (Mosiah 2:41)

What a wonderful thing is death, really, when all is said and done. It is the great reliever. It is a majestic, quiet passing on from this life to another life, a better life. We go to a place where we will not suffer as we have suffered here, but where we will continue to grow, accumulating knowledge and developing and being useful under the plan of the Almighty made possible through the atonement of the Son of God.
It really is a good quote, but somehow it wasn't comforting. I'm sure it's meant for someone else--not me!

Overall it was a good day--and I enjoyed spending time with my family and talking with friends.

Good Times

This past weekend some creative (or crazy?) friends of mine had an Alias race. I hardly ever watch tv and wasn't familiar with the series. It sounded like a crazy idea, but I wasn't having a great day, and thought it might be nice to go do something to help me forget my life for a little while. I didn't have a great Alias costume to wear--so I just grabbed my wildest pants and went.
Our awesome team:

All the Aliases:

Mall security keeping us in line:

It was so much fun!! Thanks Kamille & Candace!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I got a message last night from my oncologist that my tumor marker number has gone up again. This isn't good. Bummer. So we're going to do a PET scan in May to see what's going on with the cancer. Besides that--I'm feeling quite well. I'm thinking of trying to be vegan for a month to see if it does anything to the numbers. I may also check into alternative things or see if Huntsman is doing any clinical trials/studies that I could try out.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I just got home after having my feet zoned. This is like reflexology, exept much better and more involved. A very kind friend of mine, Tiffany Rhodes has been doing this for me about every week. It takes two hours (which fly by)--and it helps me to relax. I always sleep well and feel better after being zoned. It's like a full-body massage through the feet!

This is a business card I designed for her. It's one of the funnest design projects I've done.

I haven't written much in here because things have been relatively uneventful healthwise. There were a few days where I didn't feel so great, but I think it was because I exercised pretty hard those days. I go in for my next blood tests, bone strengthener and shots on Friday the 11th. I'm hoping the cancer markers in my blood have stayed down.

Friday, March 28, 2008

My cute cousin Lindsay is putting together a team (Jenn's Joggers) to run/walk in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on May 10th. I'm so excited!! She also sent this video clip to all the family--and I was so inspired by the love of one person for another that I thought I'd share the link if you haven't seen it already:

Love is an amazing thing!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Things are going pretty well since my treatments on March 14th. I've had pain here and there, but it's hard to say if it's the cancer, the medications I'm on or the workouts I've been doing. I think I pulled all the muscles in my legs today. I did a lot of stuff I haven't done for awhile (weight lifting). I have a new sensation lately that happens when I look down, a shock is sent down my body and out my feet. It's not painful--just wierd. Apparently this is from the radiation on my spine and should go away in about 3-6 months. I took a dance class at the gym last week with a friend, Paula Bergenthal--it was so fun!! That's the first place I started having the shocking sensation--probably because you throw your body all over the place in that class.

My blood test results from March 14 show that my blood counts are slowly coming back up. However, my tumor markers went up slightly. This was kind of a bummer after the last two times where the number came down by about 1,000 each time. We'll see what happens this next time.

My nephew, Josh Questeriet had his missionary farewell Easter Sunday. While he was giving his talk in church, the thought crossed my mind, "Will I be around in two years when he gets back?" Then I thought, "Will I be around for the day when my sons are giving their farewell talks?" That evening I told Josh I'd be here when he gets back. I plan to keep that promise.

I know there are others in my neighborhood wondering how long they'll be around. One is Cory Alldredge who's fighting oral cancer which has spread to his neck. Another is Natalie Karren who has a disease called Moya Moya (did I spell that right?). They're both in quite a bit of pain and wondering what the future holds.

The thing is--none of us knows when it will be our time to go. It's probably best that way. Enjoy today--whatever it brings!!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Treatment Friday, March 14th

Things went well for my treatment on Friday. The nurse got my IV in the FIRST try!! I was so excited to only be poked with the needle once. While I was waiting in the room to see my oncologist, Bry was playing some music on his ipod and I decided to dance, since I hadn't exercised yet that day. I put my jacket on over my hospital gown because it's always cold in the rooms. After my dr. visited, we went to the infusion room where everyone is getting their IV fluids (mostly chemo). It takes about 2 hours to get my bone treatment. Then I still had to get my shot, which ended up being two shots (one in each cheek!) since they only had smaller dose shots. I had amazingly bad pain in the rear end last night from one of the shots. I think the nurse may have hit my bone or a nerve. It's feeling better today.

I actually felt pretty good after having my treatments Friday, and we took the kids swimming that evening.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A quick word about a neighbor

Our neighbor and friend, Cory Alldredge is in the hospital at Huntsman. He was admitted today. For any who know him and Candace and their son Hayes--keep them in your prayers. We're hoping they can feel some peace as they pull through this.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Things have been going so well lately--I think maybe the cancer is gone!! (Who knows--maybe it's true!) The only thing I feel lately is a little achy and stiff after exercise or toward the end of the day. And this may not be the cancer, it may just be from the medications I'm taking. They cause joint and bone pain.

I went to a kick-boxing class at the gym on Tuesday. I used to love that class because you can take out all your frustrations while you're kicking and punching--it's very theraputic. I lasted 20 minutes (it's an hour long class). Once we started really bouncing back and forth, something in my chest started feeling like it was ripping or tearing. I'm not sure what it was, but I thought "At least I made it 20 minutes! Maybe next time I can go 25!" I finished off with the stair climber and the rowing machine. Guess I'll stick to the low-impact stuff for now.

So--overall I'm feeling pretty normal--and it's great!! I haven't had to take hardly any ibuprofen (when I use to take it daily). I feel very blessed and hope I don't take this time for granted. I remind myself each morning to show love to my husband and children and really take the time I need with them.

I also have this incredible urge to decorate my home. I'm not sure why.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The last few Saturdays we've been showshoeing--and it's beautiful up in the mountains with all the new snow!! I keep wishing for the feeling of gliding down the hill on a snowboard--but not ready for that yet (and maybe because of my bones I won't be doing that again). But the scenery is still great! And so is the workout!!

My dad's the one who taught me to snowshoe. We're at White Pine just below Snowbird.

Joe and Sam love this! The fire slowly melts itself into a hole.

Me and my love--who by the way gave me the sweetest Valentine's gift--new scriptures with the name "LITTLE FLOWER" engraved on the front. That's what he calls me--more than by my real name. I guess he was tired of me using his scriptures.

This is by far the best photo Bry took!! I'm checking out some snow caves probably made by scouts--the kids thought these were awsome!

I received my last treatment of Aredia (bone strengthener) by IV and my Lupron shot last Friday the 15th. My appointment went well and my side effects have been minimal since. I was speaking in the Saturday evening session of Stake Conference and singing in the choir on Sunday, so I figured God would bless me to be well so I could make it.

The Saturday Evening session was so great!! Elder Nuenschwander was our visiting General Authority. He sat down and spoke with me just before the meeting started and let me know he knew what me and my family were going through. His wife had just recently passed away from breast cancer. From diagnosis to her passing away it was only ten months. The whole meeting was amazing. Just before I spoke there was a musical number called something like Fear Not. When I heard that I was hoping I could make it through the song and be able to speak. The song was beautiful and had some of the words from "How Firm A Foundation" the verse about "Fear not I am with you Oh be not dismayed..." It was then that the tears started rolling and I had a really hard time pulling myself together for when I had to stand up. I spoke about the temple and how important it is to all of us and how it keeps us together as family no matter what happens. The thing is any of us could pass away at any time--and the knowledge that we'll be together after this life is the one thing that I hold onto and gives me hope and peace. Elder Nuenschwander spoke after me and told his story about his wife and her passing. He told us of how he has been blessed with peace. The whole conference was amazing and the talks by our stake presidency and others were a real boost to me.

Just yesterday we received a letter from Elder Nuenschwander reminding us we can call and talk with him any time. What a sweet man! I think Bry really enjoyed talking with him after the conference--and knowing he could talk with him if he needed a listening ear from someone who's been there.

Everything else is going well. Last Monday and Tuesday I was terribly depressed and then the rest of the week I've been anxious at night and it's hard to sleep. These are just hormonal swings from the medications. For the most part I feel great and I've been exercising every day which really helps.

I got a call Saturday from my oncologist's office saying my cancer marker numbers went down by another 1,000!! That means that treatment is working and things are going well. YAY!!! I'm sure it's because of everyone's prayers. THANK YOU!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Still doing pretty well

This last week has been pretty good. The days are good, but in the evenings I get achy and I easily get tired and irratable. By eight o'clock I want to turn my children off. I also get really cold sometimes and have a hard time getting warm. It all seems pretty hormonal--which makes sense since I'm having my ovaries shut down each month and the pill I take every day messes with my estrogen.

I feel best when I'm around others because it helps me forget about myself. I've been helping out at the kids school one or two days each week. I've still been working out most every day either by walking or doing the stair master/treadmill/eliptical at the gym. I haven't gotten up the courage to go back to the water aerobics class yet, since it put me in so much pain last time.

The amazing thing is that so far this winter I haven't had as much as a little cold. I'm sure it's because of everyone praying for me. THANK YOU!!

My next treatments are scheduled for Friday, Feb. 15th. My oncologist wants to give me the full dose of bone strengthener along with my Lupron shot (shuts ovaries down). I'm a bit nervous to do it all at once, since my body seems to react strongly to everything. We'll see how it goes.


Thursday, January 31, 2008

Good day today!

A good friend of mine who's great uncle is Gordon B. Hinckley called late last night to see if I wanted to go with her to the family viewing this morning. I was in a lot of pain last night, so I said I wasn't sure--but that I'd call her if by chance I woke up by 6:45 a.m. when she was going to leave. I just happened to sleep okay (I'm sure because of the blessing I asked for since I was in so much pain) and I woke up at 6:45. I called my friend (Angie) and she hadn't left home yet, so I threw on a dress and she picked me up and we went to the Conference Center together. It was so great! There wasn't even a line there, since it was just family viewing the prophet at that time. We were right next to him and were able to be in the room for quite some time talking with family. I was able to meet President Hinckley's children and hear them talk about their father. I found out after talking with his daughter that he had been seeing the same oncologist at Huntsman as I am (Dr. Sandra Buys). He had been having treatments every two weeks up until he passed. And still he kept going and working right up until the end. That's inspiring!

It was an amazing experience--and I'm so grateful I felt well enough to go and to have such a sweet friend to invite me.

I've been feeling pretty well the past few weeks--just a little achy in the bones from time to time. I've been exercising more--walking at the mall in the mornings with friends and going to the gym to use the treadmill/eliptical/stairmaster. I went to my first water aerobics class since summer on Tuesday morning. I paid for it last night--lots of pain in my mid-section and back. I'm pretty sure the pain was from the workout--but it feels like it's more than muscle pain. I'm pretty sure my bones are hurting too. It's not as bad today.

Love you all!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Results from Bone-Strenghthening Drug

I received my bone-strengthening IV yesterday at Huntsman. I was really nervous because of how much pain and problems I had after the last time I had it. This time my oncologist wanted to try a different drug that does the same thing to see if I did better on it. It's called Aredia (Pamidronate). My oncologist also wanted to start out with only one-third the regular dose. She obviously didn't want a reaction like my last one. As of today I feel great!! I'm sure if I was going to have a bad reaction it would have started by now. I've even been to the gym this morning--mostly to make other people on the treadmill next to me feel like they're going really fast. I seem to feel better when I exercise and get my bones and joints moving.

My blood counts (white blood cell, red blood cell, hematocrit and platelets) are low. The white blood cells are critically low, but a couple points higher than when I was in the hospital in Dec. and my Hematocrit is actually a couple points lower than when I received my blood transfusion in the hospital. The nurse told me I should stay away from large groups of people, or sick people since I have a high risk for infection. I told her I teach primary and volunteer in my kid's school classes each week. I called my oncologist's office, and the nurse there said I can go where I want, but to wash my hands really well all the time and to stay away from sick people as much as possible. That's good because I'll go nuts staying at home. I'd rather be with people--it makes me feel better.

I feel so good--I know prayers are being answered!! Thank you everyone!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Hello! Hope you all had a great Christmas and New Years!! I decided not to do Christmas cards this year to lessen the stress--but felt so sad about it when we received so many from our friends and family. So MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!
Christmas Eve and morning were difficult--I wasn't feeling very well. We did the Christmas story from the Bible together as a family in the bathroom--because I was in the bathtub with the jets going trying to feel better. Kind of wierd, but it worked. Christmas morning I felt particularly yucky and painful. While Joe and Sam were trying out the new games on the Wii I went and cried in the bedroom--mad that it was Christmas and I was feeling so bad. Then I remembered my 5-year-old nephew Nathan had been praying that I would feel better for Christmas. I reminded God about Nathan's prayer and that he would be visiting us in about 30 minutes. My sister Suzanne and her family were flying in that day from Chicago (that's Suz and her husband Tracy in the photos with me). Joe also said he had asked Santa to bring us a cure for cancer. So I had all these kids looking to see if I was feeling well. I took 3 Ibuprofin and a Lortab (which I never take during the day) and showered up and got ready to go to my mom's to have breakfast with the family. I was a bit sleepy, but have actually felt pretty well since that day. I haven't had to take much medication--especially during the day.

I actually went to the gym for the first time on the last Saturday in December. I got on the treadmill and slowly plodded along. I felt like people were looking at me thinking "You're never going to get in shape going that slow!" I stayed 30 minutes and decided I'd better not push it too far. I went walking for 45 minutes yesterday, and felt pretty good. I'm still not very fast, but at least I'm walking!! I get a little achy toward evening, but it's much better than earlier in December.

My next IV treatment of Zometa (the bone-strengthening medication) is on January 11th. It was supposed to be Dec. 27th, but I wanted to be done with the holidays. This is the medication I had such a bad reaction to that I was hospitalized in the beginning of Dec. We're hoping for a better go of it this next time.

I told our bishop that I was ready to be released from being Relief Society President earlier in Dec.--and the change was made last Sunday. Now I'm going to be teaching the 10/11-year-old girls in Primary. I'm excited for the new calling and to be able to spend more time with my family.

THANKS again to everyone!! We love you all!!