"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."


Day 1...

Ok, I am midway through drug #3, one more bag left to go. I thought I wouldn't be up while I finished treatment, but I am just not able to go to sleep. I even took a sleeping pill and it's not helping. My mind is racing, I am sweating, it's an ice box in here and I want to sleep naked because I am so hot! Gotta love those drugs. So far, so good. Who knew you could take so many drugs on chemo. I had a pepcid, senocot, cough medicine with codeine and a sleeping pill. It appears I don't have to suffer too much going through this. :) I had lots of visitors today. My sister is supposed to bring my connectors tomorrow so I will post the pics. I had an old friend, Christi, come by as well as Liz and Alison. They were so sweet. They brought me at least 15 Crescent baseball hats (thanks to all the properties who donated!) as well as tons of scarves and bandanas. I also got this sweet basket from Bath and Body Works from the office. It has all sorts of cool products in the fresh cucumber scent. I love it, it's not too fruity and it has a real light and clean smell. The body butter cream is a must have! I am in love with that lotion. Another favorite is the mint shine...yummy!

People have been so kind to me, it makes you appreciate the human spirit even more and shows you who you want to be around when you are healthy.

So the treatment will go something like this. I will be doing chemo every other week, in between weeks will be giving blood. It will be 3 treatments and that should put us around a month and a half. At that point, I will have all my tests done again - PET, CT Scan and bone marrow biopsy. If my tests show the cancer to be gone, then we start the auto sct. I'm hoping to be healthy enough to enjoy Christmas this year.

That's all for day 1...pretty uneventful for now.


My new 'do'....

Mom and I went to the beauty shop yesterday. Can you believe I told the lady to just trim my hair? lol. I got some nice knit hats and a couple of scarves. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. I still have some peach fuzz, that feels weird. I'm sure the chemo will make it smooth in no time at all. I'm waiting to start treatment sometime this afternoon. They are still waiting on my biopsy report. After the beauty shop visit, we wanted to go to the gift shop and do a little retail therapy. Well, my nurse said no-way, jose! Apparently, due to my collapsed lung I am on bed rest with bathroom privileges only...she was nice enough to let me go down to shave my head but would not let me just go about and shop. Oh well, maybe after chemo. I finally got my IV out and it feels so nice to be able to bend my arm! I also got my pic line inserted, this is where they will take blood and also give me my chemo through.

Other than that, nothing else too exciting going on. I miss my babies. I haven't seen them all week and I am afraid to call them. I know I will be crying and I don't want to upset them. I'm hoping to see them Monday night or possibly Tuesday, when I get out of here.

I've been taking pics but forgot my connections to download them. duh! Will post them when I get home.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts and prayers!

Love you all,


My latest curve...

After a busy weekend preparing for the hospital stay, I ended up at MD Anderson's ER Monday night. Around lunchtime Monday, I began feeling uncomfortable in my back area. I didn't know if I was sitting at my desk wrong or if I was needing to lay down. When I couldn't sit or walk, I ended up leaving early and went home to rest, hoping that would do the trick. A few hours later, I was still incredibly sore across my back and couldn't take deep breaths without feeling this sharp pain in my chest. My mom insisted I go to the ER and she was right. My sister took me while she stayed with the kids, as Gabriel was still working. After some quick tests, they determined my entire left lung had collapsed. Up until then, I had a partially collapsed lung but I guess the tumor was just not letting enough oxygen flow in there. I was admitted into the hospital and haven't left since. I had my biopsy this morning and will start treatment Friday, for 4 days. I'm living off of pure O2 and morphine, so I can't say I am too miserable. :) Tomorrow, I will have my picc line inserted, this is a 2-4-1 as they get to take blood from it as well as administer my chemo through it. After that it's off to the barbershop to chop off the hair. I'll post pics tomorrow. Should be a fun day.

Gabriel was sweet enough to bring all my stuff, clothes, robe, mp3 player, camera and sis' laptop. I was having withdrawal symptoms after not being connected for 2 days. I can ditch the gown too, thank goodness! :)



Faith, Hope, Love and Courage...

That basically sums up what I am clinging to throughout this process. I am feeling rather strong today. I've been reading so many success stories of people who are in remission years after having an auto sct. Those are truly inspirational for me and give me the light I need to get through this dark tunnel. My doctor had explained that the success rate of this procedure was 60%, but that was misleading since so many patients in the beginning were given the auto sct too early, there was still evidence of cancer and that's what led to the higher relapse numbers. She said now that they give the auto sct only when you are clear of cancer, that number should actually be a bit higher. Sounds good to me.



It's a relapse....

CT scan results showed no sign of infection in lung but nodes were still enlarged. Biopsy is scheduled for next Wednesday to stage and confirm HD, then treatment will start as early as Friday. I am hoping to take part in a clinical trial chemo combo called VICE, then do the auto sct. Standard treatment is ICE + auto sct. I knew this was going on back in April, I just didn't want to address it. Gotta love your intuition. Since the chemo will make ALL my hair fall out, I am going to beat it to the punch and shave it next week. Good news was my bone marrow biopsy was clean and all my other areas were clean as well. Just those little pesky nodes around my lung. I forgot to add that my wheezing is caused by the nodes swelling around my upper left lobe and it's partially collapsed...go figure!

I told the kids earlier this evening. I didn't want to scare them when I came home with no hair! Of course, no one understood the reality of it except Olivia. It broke my heart seeing her crying and admitting to being scared for me. Surprisingly, I was strong for her and really believed it when I told her I would be ok. While falling asleep, Olivia whispers to me "Mommy, you will still be beautiful even if you are bald." How sweet was that???? I love her.

It's going to move pretty fast and I am wanting to post my journey on this blog. By writing this out, it really helps me from keeping it all inside. I plan on posting pics too of baldy here. That should be interesting. :)

I appreciate all the prayers and positive thoughts. I really do. They give me the strength I need to keep focused and determined to kick cancer's ass!!!



Mother Nature at her best....

The sky was playing tricks on us last night. Thought I'd post some pics I took.

Oh, I can't forget this either. One of Olivia's friends was jumping on the trampoline and saw me taking pics. He asks Olivia, "What's your mom doing?" and Olivia proudly and matter of factly answered "She's a photographer, she's taking pictures of the sky." I guess all those dreams I had are a reality in my daughter's eyes. It was a great moment.



Possible relapse?

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with Stage 2A Hodgkin's Lymphoma January 2006. I underwent 4 cyles of ABVD chemo and 3 weeks of radiotherapy to my chest and neck area. This is standard treatment for Hodgkins. I had clean CT and PET scans last summer as well as last winter. I even had my port removed in December 2006. At my routine CT scan last month, something showed up abnormal. My lymph nodes around my lung area were enlarged as well as some type of infection in my lungs. I had battled that horrible cold/cough in Januray/February and also had really bad allergies in Spring. I thought my asthma was acting up due to treatment, but after consulting a pulmonologist, my lungs are fine and I don't have asthma. I was wheezing due to the enlarged lymph nodes. The prednisone and antibiotics seemed to have controlled it. I was even able to come off the neb treatments. After my CT scans came back, I went to have a PET scan. That lit up as well in the same areas around my lung. My doctors said if it was a relapse, they wouldn't be able to help me. So, off to MD Anderson.

I just had my initial appt. last Thursday. We were there from 11am to nearly 10pm! I didn't get a chance to see my doctor (who left due to a family emergency), but I did see her Nurse Practioner (NP) and another doctor within the Lymphoma Dept. The NP said it could easily be an infection, but if it was a relapse my treatment would be ICE chemo (bye bye hair!) and an auto stem cell transplant (SCT). I knew this already, since I've been doing all sorts of research online in case it is a relapse. The only way we will know is to do a biopsy. Tricky part is the location of these pesky nodes, they are behind my lung. So not cool. We're looking at doing the biospy within the next two weeks, they wanted me to cut the preds because they said it could interfere with the biopsy. I quit cold turkey. They wanted to wean me off over 10 days. LOL! I'm not that dependent on them. Surprisingly, I feel great without the preds and antibiotics. I think I was wheezing more taking them. Funny, eh? They were able to schedule my CT scans, but not until that evening. And since we live across town, we were not leaving this mini-city. I'm hoping the CT scans will show my nodes shrinking from my last test in June.

I returned Friday morning for a bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. After all the horror stories I've heard and seen (thanks "Grey's Anatomy") I was really apprehensive about this. Thankfully, these people are experts and only do these all day long. My tattoos hurt more than this procedure. I'm still a bit sore, but I can live with that. Not bad at all.

The next step is this Thursday. I am doing an echocardiogram to make sure my little ticker is doing fine. The "A" of ABVD treatment can do some damage to the heart. Then I give some blood and then see my regular doctor in the afternoon. I'm anxious to get this over with. I'm just ready to kick cancer's ass if it is back. I'll come out of it bald and (hopefully) thinner. I just know I'll make a beautiful bald, my gorgeous brown eyes will stand out even more. :)

I'll continue to post updates here. I think it's easier than writing emails. I can also post pictures of my journey, if there is one. I found these here http://www.cafepress.com/chucklenut/2619770 and thought they were awesome. If I am relapsing, I will be wearing several of them. lol.