Monday, December 29, 2008

Movies,movies, movies

As I sat in my chair last night I realized I have seen 4 movies in the past 2 weeks, two on DVD and two in the theater. Upon the recommendation of my 14 year old we rented Dark Knight and Step Brothers. I honestly can't give you a review of Dark Knight because I fell asleep about half way through (maybe even before the half way mark) and woke up at the end. According to my husband it was long and kind of boring! As for Step Brothers if you want to see a stupid funny movie and are not offended by foul language and talk about body parts this movie was pretty funny in parts, but very stupid in others (maybe why my son loved it and said it was hilarious, it is a movie for kids actually).

On Christmas Day, as tradition for the past several years, our family went to see a movie. We chose the Curious Incident of Benjamin Button. Two thumbs down from the kids "long and boring" from the daughter and "this movie sucks" from the son. John and I found it to be pretty good, although it was way too long (we felt it could have been shorter). If you are looking for an action packed keep you on your seat movie this is not for you. This is the chronological story of a man born old who becomes younger as the movies goes on. It is his life story. I would recommend it if you would like to see something different.

John and I went to see Doubt with Meryl Streep yesterday. I love Meryl Streep. I thnk she is great actress. We both loved the movie. Great acting! Again, this is not an action packed movie but the story of a nun and priest in a tightly run Catholic school. I would highly recommend this one!
*I am feeling great as of a now. I only had a one-week period after the chemo where I just felt lousy, but was back to normal after that. My next chemo is Friday morning. What a way to start the New Year. My hair has actually started to grow back. I think because of the 2 treatments that really didn't work my hair started growing and as of now what I have has not fallen out since the last chemo. Kind of weird. I am not sure if the 1/4" stubble will fall out or what. If you can believe this my hair is WHITE! I think some dye may be in order after all this is over. YIKES!
Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas memories

The weather was a little uncooperative this year!

Everyone had fun looking for the pickle on the tree!

Everyone dined on prime rib!

Of course, we couldn't forget the annual family photo.

Love was in the air!

We have come to expect the unexpected!

And laughter and good times were had by all! Merry Christmas 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!!!!!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Round Robin

Last night was our yearly "round robin" dinner party that I always look forward to. I was a little worried that I might not be able to make it this year due to my chemo dates and how I would be feeling but it all worked out. We are a group of 7 couples that have been doing this dinner party for over 15 years. We used to do the traditional round robin where you go to one house for appetizers, one house for dinner and one house for desserts but over the years we have become old and are actually down to 1 or 2 houses. The best part of the evening is when the ladies get together and exchange gifts. These are some of the funnest "girl" gifts ever and this year was no exception!!!! I always come home with some fun things that I just would not buy myself but would love to have. Good drinks (champagne for me this year! whooohoooo!) good food and good friends to celebrate the holiday season. It doesn't get any better than that!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Snow Day!

For those of you who wish you were here or for those of you who haven't had enough this was the scene Friday morning after Mother Nature decided to drop 13 inches of snow in our yard in a matter of about 7 hours. I ventured out to get my nails done around 11:30 and roads were in good shape. Son went sledding, daughter went to to a movie and hubbie painted my kitchen for me. I love 3 day weekends!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm a Grinch on this one!

One of my biggest holiday gripes is the radio! I can not stand any radio station in our area during the holiday season because they subject us to the cruddiest holiday music ever. Don't get me wrong I love Bing and I love Nat but why must we listen to "I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus", Elvis Presley singing "I'll have a blue Christmas without you" (that just makes me want to vomit) and Jingle Bell Rock when there are so many great songs by CURRENT artists. And as for WMYX playing Christmas music even before Thanksgiving, well... that is unAmerican and I refuse to listen to that station at all. I have my CD player loaded up with my own music and I will listen to Amy Grant and Manheim Steamroller to get me in the holiday spirit.
As for the radio stations... BAH HUMBUG!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

As a blogger there are some days that I don't actually have anything to write about or I think that you don't want to constantly read about my day to day living with my breast cancer treatment. It is usually on those days that something is in my email box that prompts me to post because it is so worthwhile to me and I feel it is worth sharing. That is the case today. I found this in my email box, opened it, watched it, cried and had to post. Thank you Ann for sending it my way!

My post today is simply put ....
Thank you to all the women I know! You have all made a difference in my life!!
I love you all!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Just a quick update to let you all know that I am feeling good! The only complaint I have is that I am tired and a bit nauseous if I don't keep taking the anti-nausea meds. I finished decorating the house, sent out my second batch of Christmas cards, made some candy, caught up on wash and cleaning and slept in both on Saturday and Sunday and napped both days as well. I got a lot done! Yayyyy! Billy's migraine was short lived. Thank goodness he didn't have some bug or something. Natalie's pink eye is pretty bad. It prevented her from working this weekend and swimming in a swim meet she was signed up for. Her eyes look better today, but looking at them makes MY eyes water. They are still pretty red and swollen. Poor thing! Sunny is still limping, no change with her.
As you can see, my cat Macie had to nap as well this weekend. This is her new sleeping spot as of the last two days. Isn't she sweet!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Just a typical Friday!

Woke up this morning tired. Probably because I woke up in the middle of the night for 2 hours, maybe from the steroid. I am not sure. Grabbed my morning coffee and was feeling a bit of a headache. Downed two ibuprofen and my anti nausea meds and got ready for work. I am running late today. Thank goodness the hair only takes about 30 seconds to get it in order. LOLOL Daughter comes down "look at my eyes" Looks like pink eye to me. Darn! I search thru the medicines thinking I have some eye drops from before. Of course I can not find then. Off to school she goes. Head to work(get there at 9:15) and get a call at 10:30, son is in the nurses room not feeling well. Head back home, pick him up from school, drop him at home (he heads to bed with a bad migraine) Hop back in the car, get a call from the daugher "my eyes are worse, the school nurse says it's pink eye" Ok, bring yourself home I say. Now at 3:00 I am headed to the clinic with her for some eye drops. I am now back at work with my stomach in my throat not because I am nauseaus but because the husband decides that he is going to go on top of our strip mall roof and get the ice out of the gutters. I am always so nervous when he is up there that he will slip and fall and then who will make my morning coffee!!!! I think I need a nap! TGIF!

Thursday, December 11, 2008



Today was my chemotherapy with the new drug Adriamycin/Cytoxan. I arrived at the hospital at 8:15 for blood work and headed up to the cardiac department for the echocardiogram. I was taken in at 9:10 and was out of there within 45 minutes. (the echocardiogram had to be done before they would give me the Adriamycin. They wanted to make sure my heart was okay before proceeding and to get a baseline test in case I developed problems from the drug down the road). I also had an appointment with the nurse at the Breast Care Center, why I am not sure because I sat there for almost 2 hours before they had the results of the echo. I was pissed off that I had to wait that long for results of a test. I can't believe they couldn't get a doc to take a look at the study when they knew I was waiting for treatment. Finally at 12 noon I went to the day hospital for the infusion. I had a great nurse, Abbie, who remembered me from the time I had a reaction the first time. She had helped with my care that time. She hooked me up to my premeds which consisted of Zofran for nausea and a steroid. That took about 15 minutes. What is different with Adriamycin is it has to be hand injected by a nurse. She had two 50 mL syringes filled with a nice red liquid that she hand injected over 15 minutes. Adriamycin is very hard on the veins, so she was really careful about making sure the line was open as she injected. She frequently checked to make sure she could get a blood return. Over and done with that! On to the Cytoxan which is in a bag. That took an hour. Flush and done!!!!!!! NO REACTION!!!!!!
Now that is progress!!!!!!!!!! I sat in my nice lounge chair in the sun with a nice view of the pond and read my book the entire time. It sounds just like a spa doesn't it!!!???? NOT!!!
I will wait and see how the side effects hit me this weekend. But for now, I am soooo glad that I finally made it through a treatment.
Tonight... I am planning on going out to dinner with my book club ladies.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Vote today !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
WMXY radio station has a Christmas Choir competition that our high school choir participates in. Today is the voting for the 2nd round, bracket 2 for Brookfield Central High School. Go to the link above and vote!!!!! They are awesome!!!!!! You must vote today for the round today and stayed tuned every day as they make their way up the ladder. I expect to see them in the final round to win!!!!!! You need to register to vote but it only takes a few minutes. Thanks!!!!
The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

~quote from the Susan Komen message boards~

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Things that make me smile!

~Jergens Natural Face glow lotion-My friend Linda gave this to me early on in my treatment for those days when I just looked crappy. LOL I use it every day( I must look crappy every day hahaha). It has a nice smell to it, and I think it actually puts some color in my face.
~Mederma-scar lotion. SIL Debbie swears by this stuff. I have been using it on my numerous scars from lymph node removal and drain sites. The scars are actually looking a little less noticeable.
~The smell of coffee first thing in the morning! I just absolutely love the smell in the house when I wake up. (John is the official coffee maker in the morning because I can't get up that early).
~The smell of a fresh Christmas tree. We can smell the Christmas tree throughout our house this year. I have never had a tree that smelled this good!
~My cat. They are the strangest pets in all the world. Ours just happens to be crazy. She is like a lightning bolt through the house for no apparent reason sometimes.
~Lunch dates and shopping at TJ Maxx. What more could a woman want.
~My bed. I love to sleep!
~A sunny day in the dead of winter. It makes the snow a little more tolerable.
~Crystal Light packets. I am not a huge water drinker. During chemo and after treatments water is essential in getting rid of the chemo drugs and keeping the body well hydrated. I am now able to drink lots of water with the help of these little packets. My favorites are Cherry Pomegranite, Raspberry Ice and Raspberry Lemonade.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Snorkeling in Wisconsin!

Only in Wisconsin! TGIF!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Sunny update

After an acupuncture treatment, lab work, x-rays and a physical exam (this took 2-1/2 hours) Sunny and I left the vet's office exhausted (she was more exhausted than me LOL). The good news is the tumor in her leg has not grown at all in a months' time which he found to be unusual if the tumor was truly an osteosarcoma. He also said that she should be in a lot more pain than she is. When he pressed on the area of leg that is involved she merely looked at him as if to say "what the heck are you doing mister." Osteosarcomas are very painful bone tumors, and she does not exhibit symptoms of having intense pain. Her chest x-ray was clear, which was also good. He explained to me a little about Chinese medicine (of which I know nothing. I will have to do some internet research LOL) and what he said makes a lot of sense. He is going to give us some Chinese herbs to give Sunny and would like to do some acupuncture for pain management. The acupuncture was pretty weird. He stuck about 5 small needles in various areas of her body. She actually laid down on the floor and slept for about 20 minutes. She seemed to walk better on her leg after the acupuncture. I will be talking to him tomorrow when he calls with the lab results, and we will go from there. I am willing to try something rather than nothing at this point.

Way off topic: Clementines are in season. They are my absolute favorite winter fruit!

And last but not least: Chemo #? what number is this really? is next week Thursday. I have had a little of this and a little of that.... I am not sure what we call it. #2 I think. LOL

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


So Tired

Well... I am at home. The treatment had to be stopped 10 minutes after the infusion started even with all the new premeds they gave me. My face and chest got flushed and red again, the other symptoms probably would have followed had we continued. My oncologist said we could go no further. Plan A never seems to be in my favor, so we are on to plan B. Adriamycin is my only other choice right now. The plan is to get a MUGGA scan (heart scan) or echocardiogram and plan another treatment early next week with the Adriamycin. I am actually not as mad or frustrated as the last time. I knew if the back of my mind it could go either way. If the Adriamycin works then my treatments should be over by the end of January if all goes as planned. That is a very short time frame, so I need to keep it in my mind that this is very short and temporary. I am feeling ok about the switch of drugs only because I don't really have any other choice at this point. I need to do whatever it takes to make sure I am covering all the bases in this cancer treatment. I only have a one-shot deal with this treatment. I don't ever want to look back and say "I should have done this but I didn't."

Sunny update:
I am taking Sunny for another opinion tomorrow with a holistic vet to see how we can medically manage her leg problem. From what he told me on the phone Sunny is not displaying normal symptoms of a dog with an osteosarcoma. I am hoping that she was misdiagnosed!

I am going to nap now as they gave me a nice dose of Benadryl, and I am beginning to feel tired!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Update on Chemo

Today I woke up with a completely different feeling about the chemo and what I should do. I was now leaning towards trying the Taxotere again. After talking with my SIL, Sandy, and listening to what her thoughts were, she reconfirmed my thoughts and I just needed to talk with my onc.
Maybe I don't need to make the choice, the choice will be made for me. By trying the Taxotere tomorrow it will be determined if I can tolerate it or not. If I can't tolerate it, I have no choice but to switch to Adriamycin. If I can tolerate it great! I at least need to give it another try and hopefully we will get through it. The adriamycin scares me with the heart risk. My luck has been shit and I would be the in the 1% that has a problem. My friend, Connie, also had the same type of reaction to the same chemo drugs, and I spoke with her the other night. My conversation with her the other night has been in the back of my mind since this has happened to me. She gave me hope that I will be able to tolerate the drug and get through the treatment just like she did, no matter how long it takes. It really helps to know of someone who has been through this and get their advice and opinions.

I just got off the phone with Dr. Charlson, and he gave me reassurance that we need to try one more time. Taxotere is the better drug for me, and like I am thinking he said it is reasonable to try again and see what happens. He will give me more premeds and slow the drip, and we will cross our fingers, pray to God and whomever else is the patron saints of chemotherapy and health ( is there one??? LOL) and hope my body tolerates the drugs.

Chemo is scheduled for 9 am tommorrow morning. I will know relatively shortly after infusion starts if this will work...... stay tuned for more...... the saga continues........ I hope I can sleep tonight! :)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chemo decisions????

I spoke with my onc this morning and after a very lengthy discussion and discussing my options I opted to try the Taxotere treatment again with more steroids and some other premeds. As the day went on I am now doubting that this is what I should do. My other option is to switch to a completely different drug, Adriamycin. With Adriamycin there is a 1% risk of the drug causing some heart damage. Heart damage meaning that the way the valves work pumping out the blood is changed. For most people this is something that will resolve itself after treatments. But there is also the chance years down the road that there could be heart damage. A heart scan (MUGGA) scan is done before the chemo is even started and then after chemo treatments are done. The heart is monitored during the chemo treatments. If for any reason the heart appears damaged the chemo is then stopped. It is a risk, but then again, am I not taking a risk by having a toxic chemical dumped in my body.
Here are my thoughts....should I risk another reaction and possibly another treatment that won't work due to a reaction and then switch or do I just switch to the other drug, take the risk, and go on with treatment #2. My onc said I would only get 3 total treatments of Adriamycin, the next one will be a lesser dose due to the fact that I had a 1/4 of the Taxotere from Friday. He also said the only real problem I may have with Adriamycin is more nausea, and there are lots of drugs to counteract that. I guess the one question I need to ask my oncologist is, what is the benefit to trying the Taxotere again??? I am not sure at this point I want to risk another reaction, possibly worse, and then switch to another drug. I need to sleep on this one. Another Benadryl is in order for tonight. LOL Ohhhh someone please make the decision for meeeeee!

I went to the Look Good Feel Better class sponsered by the American Cancer Society today at Froedert. It is a free class for all women going through cancer treatments.
It is definitely a nice class to take during all of this nonsense and you leave with a huge array of some great cosmetics. (Natalie was ooohhhing and ahhhing at some of the makeup, and I told her not to get any ideas, it was all mine). I then went to my monthly nail appointment and then headed home for the day.

I will be making a call to my oncologist tomorrow morning to pick his brain some more and hopefully reach a decision. If we are to switch drugs, I need to have a MUGGA scan first, so treatment may not be until the end of the week. If I am going to try the Taxotere again, treatment will be this Wednesday. Stay tuned for more............

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Beautiful Photo

Photo courtesy of my brother, Gary.
I LOVE this photo!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Just Can't seem to Get a Break in All of This!

I'm mad. I'm frustrated. I am ready to throw in the towel right now! I want to quit! I am tired of all of this, and I just seem to go from one mess to another. I went in for chemo this morning and after 15 minutes of the Taxotere running in I had a reaction. Flushed face, bright red chest, chest tightness and pain, blood pressure shot up and very lightheaded. They stopped the IV and gave me another steroid and some Benadryl, waited about 30 minutes and tried again. Same thing again with now tightness in throat and puffy eyes. They finally determined they could go not go further and discontinued the treatment. I then had to wait about an hour for the chest tightness to go away and I felt normal again. I drove myself today because the first treatment had gone so well that I didn't feel like I needed anyone there. I left about noon. I was actually mad I couldn't have the treatment. Who WANTS to have a treatment and here I am mad that I couldn't have it. I am tired of all these bumps in the road!! I just want to move forward! I need to call the oncologist Monday to see what he is going to do now. Change drugs? Try again? Who knows! What an emotional rollercoaster this has been. I am having a hard time holding myself together after today. Just what can go wrong next??? I apologize for the depressing post, but this blog is what it's all about, and this is what it's all about right now for me.
Cancer sucks!!!

On a somewhat uplifting note, John took me out to get a Christmas tree later this afternoon, and we got the biggest, fattest, tallest tree we could find. That made me a little happier. I love a big Christmast tree and last year's was kind of little.

Tommorrow is a family gathering with my niece, her husband and their adorable little baby whom we haven't seen in a few months( they live in Nashville. She is the niece who stepped in and updated my blog for me the last time I was in the hospital ) and the rest of John's family coming to our house. I am looking forward to getting together and getting my mind off of my problems.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Chemo #2 tomorrow!

I had a great Thanksgiving today! We traveled to Madison to John's sisters house to celebrate. It was a nice quiet day spent with family. This year Sandy tried brining the turkey. Omgggg, it was the best turkey we have had by far. The white meat was so moist. It was delicious!!! Of course, my favorite, the stuffing was awesome! I even had a few cocktails to celebrate the holiday.

Tomorrow is round #2 of chemo. I am a bit nervous but very optimistic this time around. I will be at the Clinical Cancer Center at 8:00 and the chemo should take about 3 hours. I have a great book I am reading, and I am also taking my new favorite TV series, Mad Men. My friend Linda got me hooked on it. It is a great show if you have never seen it.

I will post later as to how it goes! I should feel 100% great for the first 3-4 days after chemo and then will start to feel the effects. With the neupogen injections, it is our goal to keep the WBC count up and keep me out of Hotel Froedert! Keep your fingers and toes crossed, and please send some prayers my body will hold up to the chemo drugs and keep me healthy this time around!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize,
and may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Update on Sunny

I have had several people ask me about our dog Sunny and how she is doing. Sunny is doing great! Honestly, she is now running on all four legs with an occasional slight limp on her back leg. I have been in contact with a holistic veterinarian who is going to review her x-ray and give us advice as to how to holistically manage her condition. As of now, our vet is 86% sure that she has bone cancer. He advised a bone biopsy to make sure that is what she has. We are not going to do the bone biopsy at this time. According to the vet I just spoke with dogs that have been diagnosed with bone cancer will deteriorate rapidly within 2-3 after diagnosis. She found it very unusual that Sunny is now walking again and shows no signs of having a problem with her leg. She also found it unusual that her leg is not swollen. If indeed she has bone cancer there are some options. Amputation, chemo or holistically treat. Amputation and chemo we will not consider. If she does have cancer we want to be sure she is pain free most of all. She is perfectly happy as she is right now. I see no need to amputate her limb or put her through chemotherapy (heck, look what chemo did to my body, I can't do that to my dog). Whatever life she has left we want her live out happily just being Sunny as she is now. This vet lives in Green Bay and has referred me to a colleague who is a holistic vet in Burlington, a little closer for us to travel to. I will be in contact with him and then go from there.

Since Sunny's initial diagnosis we have been considering getting another puppy. John misses having a dog to hunt with. We do not know how much time she has left but we do know she will probably not be able to hunt any longer. Today we met with the breeder that we got Sunny from 8 years ago. Two female dogs will be expecting litters, one in January and the other in May. We met the moms today and the dad. We are hoping to get a female pup out of the litter coming in January. If not, we will get first pick of the litter in May. Either way, we have our name on the list for a new puppy!! Oh boy, here we go again.

I will never forget the first night we had Sunny. Both kids wanted to sleep with the dog next to her crate. They both got their sleeping bags and camped out in the laundry room with the new dog. Natalie lasted about 30 minutes with the dog howling in her ears. I don't even know how Billy fell asleep listening to the dog howling. The poor thing cried and cried. I woke up in the middle of the night to silence. I tiptoed out into the laundry room to find Billy asleep on his sleeping bag and no dog in the crate. The door of the crate had not been shut tightly and the little stinker had gotten out. I found her sleeping in the kitchen snuggled inside a shirt that had been left on the kitchen floor. Cute!!!

Monday, November 24, 2008


No, that is not my dog in the first photo. That was a coyote passing through my yard this morning. I just happened to be looking out the window as I saw him coming.
The snow sure was pretty this morning when I woke up. That is about all I can say about it! I am not a snow lover (I think you may have figured that out by now from previous posts LOL).
I was out of the house early today for a plastic surgery appointment and then some grocery shopping. Nothing new in the boob department. Just a check on the stitches and to make sure everything is healing. As for the grocery store, I am pretty sure that no one even noticed I was there today!

Happy Monday!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Quote of the Day

One kind word can warm three winter months
~Japanese proverb~

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Medical costs!

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I tried to do an internet search regarding costs of surgeries and chemotherapies to get an idea of what things cost. There is very little on the internet regarding costs. I did find some information on other blogs and also on the Komen website. It is interesting that most doctors have NO idea what things cost. My oncologist didn't even know how much he charges for an office visit. LOL I am posting this information in case someone is searching for information regarding costs for some of these tests and procedures.

Mamogram and ultrasound-bilateral breasts $225.oo
Ultrasound guided-biopsy and stereotactic biopsy-bilateral breasts $8, 800.00 not inlcuding radiologist charge
Pathology report from biopsies $1,200.00
Nuclear medicine sentinel node mapping $1,200.00 not including radiologist charge
Surgery-Bilateral mastectomy $57,000.00
Anesthesia $3,500.00 and $2,000.000 not sure why two separate charges
Plastic surgeon bill $$20,000.00
Room and board 4 days $1,780.00
Lab expenses-one day-in hospital $3,000.00 (not even sure what this was?)
Misc. surgery expense $7,800.00
Chemotherapy treatment Cytoxan/Taxotere $5,500.00 per treatment
Neupogen shots- 7 injections $1,600.00 (these are given after chemo to stimulate bone marrow generation to keep white blood cell count up)
Neulesta shot- 1 injection $3,000.000 (also used after chemo to stimulate bone marrow)
Oncology office visit $220.00
Outpatient surgery-debridement of breast tissue. One hour surgery. $13,000.00

A lot of the expenses are not itemized, and it is hard to determine exactly what the charges were for. The above is what I could figure out, and these charges are what the insurance company allowed. The original costs were higher, obviously. I have not even seen any of the charges come through for my last hospital visit for 6 days. I can only image what those will be!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monday, November 17, 2008

Backyard Wildlife

Here is Wisconsin and especially the area we live, we typically see lots of different wildlife. We have seen coyotes (and hear them howling at night) fox, mink, turkeys and of course deer. The dog went crazy yesterday afternoon barking at the window, so I knew it had to be deer. This little fellow was just taking a leisurely walk through my yard. It was the second time I had seen him that day. It is kind of funny as there have been numerous times we see people parked on the side of the road taking pictures of the deer walking in our area and to us it is just like seeing a bird or squirrel. We have become so used to seeing them. It is mating season right now, so deer sightings are frequent. We even had a light dusting of SNOW yesterday. Ughhhhhh!!!!!


I have always hated Mondays! I think I always will. Getting back into the work routine. Ugghh. Not that I have been overloaded with work responsibilites, as I have hardly been here the last 2 months. As John puts it it is a Monday morning hangover without the booze. LOL

I am back at the office this morning. I am trying to get back into my "other" job of medical transcription. I did some work over the weekend and should be getting back this week more regularly. I miss the work. There is something about typing up a complete medical report with no errors from a fast-taking radiologist with a southern accent that makes me feel as if I have accomplished something great. About a year ago when I first started with this company out of Texas, I was ready to throw in the towel two weeks into training, singing the blues to my boss that there was NO WAY I would ever figure out what these two doctors were saying. Let me tell you, they speak fast and slurry! It was so frustrating. I stuck with it and I have to laugh now because they sound so normal to me. My main account is radiology (mostly MRIs,CTs, ultrasounds and some general radiography) and my other account is from the Chattanooga Heart Institute-Cardiology. I love the cardiology account as well but do not work on it often, so it is a bit of a challenge for me, which I like.

Time to get going. The coffee cup is empty, and I am ready to go!
Happy Monday!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lunch Date

Today I met my dear friend Cathy for lunch. We haven't seen each other since she came to see me in the hospital, and well, quite frankly, the hospital is not the place to catch up with a friend. LOL I was craving a big salad, so we headed to Cheesecake Factory. It felt great to be out and about, and I actually did not feel self conscious at all with the new wig on. It was a great afternoon spent with a great friend catching up on each others lives. I am so lucky to have such a good friend as Cathy. Thanks for lunch Cathy and for the Mounds bars! (Mmmmm one of my favorites).

Saturday, November 15, 2008


My hair started falling out this past Tuesday. I was ready to shave it off on Thursday night, but I just couldn't do it! Instead I took a scissors to it. LOL I cut it about 2 inches long. I am sure my hairdresser is cringing right now. I just can't seem to leave my hair behind. I went to work on Friday with my new wig on. It was kind of like wearing a hat. The UPS lady came in.... oh no....the first person to see me in my wig. Will she notice? I became nervous. "Wow, I love your new cut and color" she said. LOLOL I love you Miss UPS. I laughed nervously and said "gee thanks, it is a wig." She was shocked. I told her I was having chemotherapy for breast cancer, and she said "well I never would have known." It was a nice ego booster that's for sure.
Today I ventured out in public for the first time with the wig on. I did some grocery shopping at Pick N'Save. It was 8 am, so I figured there wouldn't be many people there. Did you ever feel like EVERYONE is looking at you?? Thankfully there were only elderly people there, but I felt like they were looking at me saying "oh my look at that woman with the wig on." LOL I couldn't wait to get out of there I was so self conscious. I suppose it will take some getting used to.

It is a gloomy day and cold. I am craving some pumpkin bars, and I actually feel like baking, so that is on to to-do list this morning. The house is empty right now, so I am enjoying the alone time.
Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quote of the Day

~From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.~
~Catalan Proverb~

Thursday, November 13, 2008


The Wisconsin Girls High School State meet is approaching this weekend. This year our school is sending 10 girls who have qualified. This is the largest group ever! I am proud to say that Natalie is among this group. This will be her third trip to High School State. Not only did they win the Greater Metro Conference, they were also picked for team of the week by Preps Plus and were featured in a brief segment on TV. Tonight, we have the pleasure of a state team dinner at one of the parent's homes. I am soooo looking forward to dinner! LOL It is a tradition that Julie makes her famous glazed salmon and steak dinner, and it is to die for!!!! Can you tell I have been food deprived for awhile!?? It is a great evening with parents and swimmers as they gear up for the weekend. I am looking forward to getting out and ridding my mind of all of my troubles over the past week and half. The girls have worked very hard to get where they are today. Way to go Lady Lancers!
And yes, that is an actual photo of Natalie that was in the Brookfield News a few weeks ago.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Graphics & Myspace layouts

Today I had a followup visit with my oncologist since my hospitalization. My blood work looked great. Everything is back on track. We discussed in detail what happened and how,hopefully, to prevent another huge setback like what occurred. I am going to be on another extra week of antibiotics right now for precaution and my next treatment is tentatively planned for the day after Thanksgiving (I won't be out shopping anyways.....hate that day after crap!). I will have to give myself a Neupogen shot for 7 days after chemo to stimulate my bone marrow to generate white blood cells. He is pretty positive if my blood cells dropped the first time, it will happen again. The Neupogen shots will help prevent my white blood cells from bottoming out again. He then suggested possibly another week of antibiotics to be super safe. He is going to do everything possible to keep me out of the hospital the second time around. For now, I have a few weeks of getting back to "normal." I also gained 30 pounds in the hospital due to fluid retention and all the fluids they were pumping into me. As of today, I am back to prehospital weight. (why can't normal weight come off that easy when you want it to??? LOL) I left the hospital today feeling even just a little bit lighter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

good day/bad day

I was sitting having my morning coffee trying to wake up when I ran my hands through my mop of hair and lo and behold handfuls of hair came out. I knew this day would eventually come! I knew I would not be ready for it though. Is any woman ever ready to lose their hair???? I can walk around in public and no one will know that I have breast cancer, but when you walk out in public bald you wear your diagnosis on your head. Thankfully, I had an appointment with Lisa to get my wig trimmed and fitted. Perfect timing! I met her at Small Stones at Froedert mid morning. She asked me if she should shave my head. I most definitely am not quite ready for that. She trimmed the wig and showed me how to care for it. The time spent in the morning getting ready will definitely be cut down. This might be a nice thing. I left feeling a bit better with the wig in my hands. I had two more stops to make, a quick stop at the vet to pick up some x-rays and to drop off some movies, home by 1:30, made a few insurance phone calls,and I was exhausted!! I slept for several hours and probably would have slept longer but I heard the doorbell ring. Unfortunately I just could not wake up enough to get out of bed. I am not one of those that just jumps out of bed in the morning. When I did get up, I checked the front door and found a beautiful bouquet of flowers, some still warm banana bread and some scented candles. What a nice surprise. Thank you Lisa!!!!!!!

Tomorrow is my appointment with my oncologist, and I have a list of questions for him as I head into the next chemo treatment.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Today was a good day! Uneventful! And uneventful feels really good to me right now. I did some things around the house and relaxed most of the day.

My brother, Gary, took this photo in northern Wisconsin. I don't think he would mind that I share it with you.

It is beautiful!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Going Home

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do." ~Confucius~

My friend, Ann, gave me a book mark a while ago with this quote on it when I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, and the quote really stuck with me so much that is has kind of become my motto. Well, I certainly have fallen again and I have gotten up. Right now the only thing I want to do is go home and be in my house with my family and get some real rest. It has been a difficult week, more so than the week I had my original surgery. I am sure within a few days I will be feeling a little stronger! If you don't hear from me over the rest of the weekend don't panic. I am probably sleeping!!!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm bacckkkkk!

Hello, hello, hello!!!!!

I am sitting at Hotel Froedert right now as I blog. John brought down his laptop this morning with a cup of coffee and an egg mcmuffin (I know, I know, but honestly I have not eating much in the past week, the food sucks here and I am starving!)

This will be a pretty long post, so I hope you are not nodding off by the end.

The two days after chemo went well until Friday night when I spiked a fever of 101.9 and was sent to the clinic for blood work (normal WBC counts will drop around day 5, so it was kind of unlikely they said that anything was wrong). I checked out okay, went home and by Sunday night spiked a fever of 103.5 and a very bright red breast (the bad boob, as I refer to it). Unfortunately my WBC, white blood count, was 300. Normal is 3,000-10,000. Not good. There proved to be infection in my right breast just by looking at it, so an overnight stay with IV antibiotics was in store. Ok, I can handle that. Just to let you know the ER was fabulous there. I was seen right away, not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing LOL meaning how much trouble is this lady in. LOL

Up to the floor, get checked in, all hooked up, pump the fluids, glad to be back NOT. This part is a bit graphic so if you get queasy feel free to go on to the next paragraph. On the way to the bathroom I sprung a leak in a small incision in my breast which was filled fill pus. Within 2 hours I was back in surgery to remove the soft tissue expander. There was no way they could leave it in with my white count so low.

Since that time my blood count has gone back up!! My electrolytes, sodium, potassium, all that stuff is coming around. My hemoglobin and hematocrit where really low so I ended up having a blood transfusion on Wednesday. I actually perked up after that.

I am honestly an emotional wreck right now. Physically I am pretty good. During all of this Sunny was supposed to have her ACL repaired on Thursday. They preoperatively did an x-ray of her leg to check everything out and found that she has bone cancer. I spent the day on Thursday crying about my dog. I am still having trouble taking this all in. Those who know me know that I love my Sunny girl. My heart breaks for her. She is still the same old Sunny for now. We will deal with the disease as it comes and go from there.

I would like to thank all my friends, family, neighbors and Komen sisters for all your prayers and support. As I have said before, I could not be doing this alone. Although I have a deep inner strength I never knew I had, I do need help, so I thank you all from the bottom of my heart!!!!!! Thank you Jess for updating my blog, Cathy for AGAIN always being there, my friends Connie and Sara from the Komen boards who have kept all my sisters updated and helped me along the way with encouraging words and Lisa, the wig lady, who so graciously came by my hospital room with my wig to show me and make sure the color was right (and it was, it is so cute), my hubbie who is a wreck with me right now, trying to carry on as usual, my immediate family who have kept my spirits up and kept me going, the wonderful, kind caring staff I had this time around (I had some great nurses) and everyone else that has played any kind of part in this ordeal!!!

I look forward to going home TOMORROW!!!!!

Love to you all, Gail

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still in the Hospital

Gail's doctor expects that she will be in the hospital another 24-48 hours. Here is what has been going on:
  • She had to have a blood transfusion because her hemoglobin and hematocrit were very low.
  • After the transfusion she felt better immediately. She actually ate something. :)
  • Her potassium and electrolytes are out of whack so she is on additional supplements.
  • Her white count is up to 22,000. Yesterday it was 2200. When she went in it was 300.
  • She is off her IV antibiootics and is just taking oral antibiotics. She is not hooked up to any additional fluid right now, which is a good thing.
She says thank you for all the prayers, phone calls and food. :)

Monday, November 3, 2008


Gail's surgery went well. She expects to be in the hospital 2-3 days.

Back to the Hospital

This is Gail's niece Jessica. She asked me to post a quick update. Today she went back to the hospital for an infection in her right breast, as well as a low white blood count. The infection has gotten worse and she is going to have surgery tonight to remove the expander, as the infection is sitting on the plastic. She has been pumped with antibiotics all day as well.

She expects to be in the hospital at least another day or two (originally she expected to go home tomorrow, but that is unlikely).

Please be praying for her and the doctors. I will update again when I hear more.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Hit by the Train

Good morning! As you can see I have not posted in a few days. The weekend did a number on me. I woke up Friday night with terrible chills, no fever, and by morning had a pounding headache and a 101.9 fever. According to my doc instructions I was to call if I had a fever over 100.5 with chills. I had to go into the infusion clinic at Froedert for a blood test to check my white count. They said it would be unusual for my blood count to drop that quickly (it usually happens about a week out). Blood work was fine, my fever came down and they called it a fluke but to keep an eye on it in case the fever went up. I layed on the couch with a nasty headache and body aches all day and night. I slept pretty well last night and today feel somewhat human, although not my usual self. Hopefully, I will get better as the day goes on.

Friday, October 31, 2008


It is a gorgeous day here with the sun shining and mild temperatures.
I am feeling good! I didn't feel the greatest last night, just felt icky. Food has taken on somewhat of a strange taste in my mouth right now, so I haven't eaten much. Layed on the couch and watched TV all night. This morning I am feeling a little lightheaded but nothing intolerable. I am off the steroids now so that wired feeling should go away.
I am at home catching up on housework, laundry and errands. So far so good! I am waiting for something to hit me. Hopefully it won't.

Once again, thank you for all the emails, phone messages, texts, cards, gifts and FOOD! I am overwhelmed again with everyone's generosity!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Day After

Guess what? My hair fell out last night, completely bald. hahaha Just kidding.

I am feeling good today so far! I took a Benadryl last night and slept really well. I took my steroid and anti-nausea meds and have my new piece of jewelery on, my anti-nausea wrist band, that my friend Linda got me. Hey, I will try anything that might fight off nausea. I am feeling a little wired from the steroid but today is the last day of that med. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed as the day goes on that I continue to feel good.

On a side note, our dog Sunny has been having some problems with what we thought was her hip. John had taken her hunting last weekend and she is now three-legged. She will not put any weight on her back leg, so another vet visit was necessary. We are pretty sure she has torn her ACL in her knee. She will have an x-ray to see if anything else is going on in the leg and then surgery to follow to repair the tear. The vet was pretty sure that this was the problem. That will be next week Thursday.
She is the sweetest family dog and a great hunting companion. I hate to put her through a surgery but she has to walk, so we really do not have any choice.
Poor baby!!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Feel the Fear/Chemo #1

My SIL, Debbie, gave me this "courage" stone shortly after I was diagnosed.
I took the stone along with me to chemo this morning and kept it in my pocket. It will go with me for all my chemo treatments. Yesterday I was feeling pretty nervous about the chemo (who wouldn't be nervous about having toxic drugs pumped into your system) and when I took the box out last night to put the stone in my hospital bag I saw the message written on the box "feel the fear and do it anyway" Well, that pretty much says it all, doesn't it??!!! I left the house this morning ready to go!! Thanks Debbie. It was the perfect gift for the perfect time!

I was at the cancer center bright and early just to catch a nice sunrise coming up over the lake.

I arrived at he cancer center at 7:15 for labs where they drew my blood and then placed on IV line in my wrist. I then had an oncologist meeting at 8:30 with Dr. Charlson and his nurse just to go over what was going to happen and check my labs. He is super doctor and his nurse is really great also. Everyone I encountered today was wonderful. My chemo started pretty much on time and the great news was that it was only going to take 3 hours, not the 5 hours like they had originally said. Premeds included another dose of a steroid, anti nausea (15 minutes total) and then the Taxotere (dripped for one hour) and Cytoxan (dripped for another hour). I sat in a nice lounger and read for most of the time in between a few phone calls and some text messages. It was pretty uneventful, which is a good thing! I left feeling not any different than when I arrived. I stopped at Panera and grabbed some soup and I am home. I will know in about 3 days what side effects will hit me. Both my doc and nurse think I will have no problems with the combination of drugs. One down three to go. Yippeee!!

I would like ask for some prayers for 3 people that I know. (I won't use their names for their privacy) The first person is sort of a distant family member who is having a bilateral mastectomy today for breast cancer. The other is a mom who I ran into this morning at the day hospital that I know personally and has a recurrence of cancer 5 years out. We were both very surprised to see each other there! The third is a good friend of ours who is battling prostate cancer and has gone through some radiation and will require some more shortly. I am finding out more and more every day about people that I know that are having to deal with cancer. It makes me very sad. Please pray for these people as they fight! Thank you!!!