Sunday, December 28, 2008

Does Your Life Have a Purpose?

Does Your Life Have a Purpose?
by Dan Miller

People living on the islands of Okinawa and Sardinia are more likely to reach 100 years of age than people living anywhere on earth. These people attribute their long lives not to healthy eating, leisure living, or great genes, but to a term they love to use -- ikigai which in essence means "sense of purpose."

To expand it a little, ikigai is related to positive life-satisfaction, self-esteem, morale, and a sense of having meaning in one's life. So people who possess ikigai have defined "that which makes one's life worth living." Unfortunately there is not really an American English equivalent word, but we certainly understand the concept -- it's what all of us long for, as well.

This goes beyond a basic spiritual sense of purpose and eternal connection. Having resolved our spiritual position, it's that feeling that our life is valuable and that our future is worthwhile, even if our present circumstances are dark. In studies of these island dwellers it appears that having ikigai is not connected to economic status at all.

Now what about you? Is your sense of having purpose and a life worth living independent of your circumstances, or has your current situation also deflated your confidence in the value of your life? While the holiday season can be a delightful time of year, for some this upcoming month will also be stressful, emotionally taxing, and a reminder that goals were not achieved this year.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
1. Do I know where I stand spiritually and have I resolved how I will spend eternity?
2. Have I discovered my "purpose" now -- here on earth?
3. What did I accomplish this year that I should be celebrating? (It's easy to get too busy to notice all you have accomplished.)
4. What can I do to have a daily sense of ikigai in 2009?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Got the go ahead to train for a marathon!

Hi all~ today I saw my cardiologist to go over the results in more detail from the CT angiogram. Everything with my heart looks good and I have the ok to train/run a marathon! I will remain on a very low dose of the beta blocker as it seems to keep my BP where it needs to be with out much in the way of side effects. I go back in 3 months for a follow up. So, that was all good.

I have been concerned about the report referring to "multiple areas on the ribs & spine" so the doctor called and spoke to the radiologist to get more details. It appears the rib that was noted is the area that we already know about and the spine seems to be something new but was noted as being very small. This is an area (t 11) that has been noted before but not as cancer. So... the tests in January will tell us more but for now that was overall good news. I am feeling good, just have some pain in my rib area but have been able to continue running. Chris and I braved the cold tonight and ran a "quick" 4 miles :)

Please continue to keep the upcoming tests/results and Gods healing in prayer with us.
Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

test results

I received the CT angiogram test results a few days ago. I felt pretty confident that it would be ok and it was, my heart looks good. What I was not expecting was the test to note "multiple spots on the ribs and spine,indicating metastatic disease". However, it also refers to these areas as being in the "healing" stage. My nurse said sometimes there is more cancer than shows up on the scans and then begins to show up when it is getting smaller or healing. My tumor markers are slightly elevated, one in range one out of range, but they are slowly going back up, which is not great news. I have my next set of tests set up for January 13th & 22nd. My Dr. feels we need to be cautious and compare "apples to apples" meaning my last scans that were done in Sept. to the next set in Jan. Same tests done in the same place by the same people. Remember, the cta was focusing on the heart, not the cancer. So, we have to take another complete look again.

I would like to ask everyone to be in prayer over these next weeks for healing and for comfort. Our God is not a God of statistics, He is still a God of healing and miracles!

I am expecting the Lord to rescue me again, so that once again I will see His goodness to me here in the land of the living. Don’t be impatient. Wait for the Lord, and He will come and save you! Be brave, softhearted, and courageous. Yes, wait and He will help you. Psalms 27: 13-14

Thursday, December 11, 2008

This is YOUR opportunity to let the new administration know where you want the country to go – I hope you will take advantage of it.

Hi, my name is Elayne, I am 44 and I am fighting breast cancer for the second time in my life.I have stage 4 metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bones.

At this point in my life I am not only surviving but thriving as a wife, mother and runner.

I would like to see more research and options, especially for people like me that tend to have few options left as a stage 4 cancer patient.

There are now hormonal and targeted therapies being used which do not destroy the rest of your body in the process as with the traditional chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. I think there is great hope in targeted therapies and should be a continued area of research and development.

I would love to see more focus on environmental issues. What is being allowed to be put in the foods we are eating that are loaded with hormones,preservatives and antibiotics as well as what is acceptable with our air quality. On preventative care through a healthier lifestyle overall beginning at childhood.

Cancer is affecting so many people and so many families that we as a nation need to be proactive instead of the traditional reactive society that we have been.
There are many alternative and holistic approaches that most doctors know nothing about. They know very little to nothing about nutrition. These should also be areas that doctors are knowledgeable in and can offer as choices. These may all be keys in being proactive or increasing survival for those of us fighting this battle and those who do not yet know they will be fighting it as well.

Thank you~ Elayne Minich
10 year breast cancer survivor

If you would like to send a letter to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Advocacy Alliance to let our new administration know what your top priorities in the fight against cancer are click on the link below~

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Almost made it one week~

Well, I am back on the beta blocker ( Coreg) as of today. My BP was just getting too high again ( (145/93) and as you can imagine it is not a great feeling. I spoke to the nurse today and she said it will be a matter of getting the dosage right. I have either been too high or too low. This is the tricky part and hopefully this swinging back and forth is not causing any further problems to my heart.

Friday morning is my CT angiogram. Would appreciate prayer for this test, the results and getting the BP under control again.

Thanks again everyone for your continued support~ Elayne

Friday, December 5, 2008

CT Angiogram next week

Yesterday I had an apt. with my cardiologist as we tried to untangle this medical mess. Kind of scary when even the specialists don't know what to do with you :)

Basically, I just had too many things all hit at the same time over the last few weeks and figuring out what caused what to happen is impossible.

So, here's the plan. Although my BP has been going up again it is not dangerously high but high enough to make me uncomfortable. The doctor is having me wait one more week to give my body some time to adjust and then decide if I need to go back on the beta blocker.

The CT angiogram is scheduled for Friday the 12th. For those of you that have been praying, please keep these things in prayer over the next week or so as well as for discernment for my doctors. I know all this will "level" out as soon as we figure it out. I am actually feeling much better, so it is just a matter of checking the arteries in the heart and monitoring the BP right now.

She also explained the bundle branch block to me yesterday, which I don't think I can re-explain other than a "blip" in the electrical impulse in my heart that happens when I exercise. I am allowed to run right now, but not alone until after the CT which will tell us more and hopefully the results will be fine and will not show any problems or hinder my running.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

No more Americano's for me :)

Today I woke up to no coffee in the house so I did what every serious coffee drinker does- went to Starbucks! I ordered an Americano ( very strong) and it was great. However I then checked my blood pressure a while later to find it had shot up to 145/95. This just falls under the "dumb guy" category :)
It has come back down now, however Chris and I have noticed that since last week after receiving my Lupron injection it has been climbing back up along with headaches. So, we are suspecting the Lupron/hormone changes.
After consulting with my doctors it has been decided that I will have one more test for my heart which is a CT angiogram. This test will take a good look at the arteries. The cardiologist feels more comfortable to give me the ok to train for a marathon after these test results.
I have been off the beta blocker for a couple weeks now and can't say I am sure it's the right thing as my BP is going up and I feel some chest discomfort.
With all this somehow, my running is getting better :) We usually run about 4 miles for our regular runs. Saturday, we went ahead and did 5 and are planning to bump up to 6 this weekend. We are not in training right now, so this is just to keep in shape for when training starts again.
Overall, I am feeling better than the last couple of weeks, but adjusting to changes with the meds always takes some time. Please keep this in prayer as I adjust to the meds., have the CT angiogram and for discernment. And as always~ for continued healing!
Thanks everyone~ Elayne

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A new week~

It has been about a week since the last post and this past week has been about the same. Today however I am finally feeling better.
Not sure what exactly threw me off these past 2 weeks but Chris and I feel it was a combination of several things. I had the Zometa treatment, out of medical menopause and stopped the beta blocker all on the same day. Also, had a lot of loses these past weeks of 4 friends and Chris's Grandma Doris.
I continued to have chest pain, fatigue,headaches and just not feeling well. So, we decided that I just needed to rest for several days and that is what I have been doing.
I finished reading a book, slept a lot, watched movies and the Cowboy game with Chris, Kevin & Nikki today. Tonight Chris and I made our Pumpkin Rolls for Thursday!
We did walk ( not run) 4 miles on Saturday and 4 more today. Tomorrow, if all is ok we will try to run.
This Tuesday I start the Lupron injections again. We are praying that I will tolorate the effects from the injections without problems and that the other problems will continue to get better. I am still off the beta blocker and blood pressure meds and my BP is remaining in normal ranges~ as i am reminded by Dr K those are the "victories" :)
As I am writing this I realize that it has been one year now since I began these 2 blogs. Much has happened this past year and another year means another VICTORY!

Thanks for your support and prayers through all of this~have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

This is what I am Thankful for~ :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tough Week

Since the last post, things have been kind of tough. As I mentioned last time I did come off the beta blocker. After a few days I started feeling really bad. Chest pains, palpitations, fatigue, breathing wasn't right and my left arm and hand felt weird.
So, I started back on the beta blocker and called a new Cardiologist that I was scheduled to see next week. They had me come in today instead.
My apt. lasted 3 hours and included another echo, stress test on the treadmill and then another echo. My injection fraction number was still good, in normal ranges and everything looked ok. The doctor did mention something called exercise induced bundle-branch block. She wants me to have another test done, I can't remember what it is called but the test is a CT scan that takes pictures of the heart after an injection is given. I believe it exposes you to high levels of radiation so I will need to discuss this with my oncologist first.
As far as the beta blocker, she said to stop taking it. IF, I begin to have all the problems like I had this weekend then she will have me come in to the hospital for a closer look at the heart.
I have been off ( again) the beta blocker for 24 hours so far and am doing ok. Chris and I ran tonight about 3.5 miles. I cut out about the last 1/2 mile and went home while he finished running 4 miles. I can't say I felt great but after not running for 8 days and having a bad week it is no wonder I did not feel so great.
I am praying that I will find the right cardiologist. I did like her and she is very much on board to keep me running but also to make sure it is safe.

On Thursday I received a Zometa treatment and although it went well I am sure it played a role in how bad I felt this weekend.
I will also be starting the lupron injections to put me back in a medical menopause this week.

We attended our neighbors funeral on Saturday ( see family blog), Our Grandma Doris is now in Hospice care in Michigan ( today is her 94th? Birthday). She is not expected to be with us much longer and....
Someone hit Chris on the highway on his way home from work tonight. He is fine, says his neck hurts a little but we are afraid his car might be considered totaled and we just paid it off not long ago :(

Please keep Grandma Doris and our Minich family in prayer. This verse just keeps going through my mind~
Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Fruit Loops"

Anytime there are changes made with medications, treatments, doctors, etc. it will through you for a loop.
My "loops" this week have been weaning off the heart medications and my body thinking it is an estrogen machine deciding to take itself out of a medically induced menopause. So, guess what... I get to do it all again, Lupron injections and all the fun that comes with being kicked into menopause. Oh..... please pray for me :) and Chris :)

I have not felt quite right since stopping the heart meds. But each day is getting better. My blood pressure is going up and the dizziness has stopped, which is good as long as it doesn't go up too high. I see the cardiologist on the 26th and hopefully all will remain well and I can stay off the 2 heart meds.

Had a Zometa treatment yesterday and so far so good, just tired. Have not needed anything for discomfort at this point.
Have not run since Saturday and we can't wait and get back out there.

All this just comes with the territory, tweaks and adjustments. Some days you just feel like a big "Fruit Loop" :)

Thanks for your continued love and support~ Elayne

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stopping the Beta Blocker

After getting my lab results back last Friday and seeing that they were all normal, no problems with my sodium or potassium, I decided to cut the beta blocker in half again taking it just once a day.
Today, I spoke with the cardiologist and let him know that I was feeling much better on the lower dose. My BP has gone back up to normal levels and I am not getting dizzy when I stand anymore.
He said it would be ok to just stop taking the beta blocker.
Here's where the prayer request comes in :) Please keep in prayer that this transition off of these 2 medications ( BP med & Beta Blocker) goes smoothly and without complications. For protection of my heart. I have been nervous about this ( kind of feel like I am dropping my safety net) so please keep that in prayer too that I would have peace about this decision.
This is a great praise to be able to get off these two medications!
Thanks~ Elayne

I have told you all this so that you will have peace of heart and mind. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows; but cheer up, for I have overcome the world. John 16: 33

Friday, November 7, 2008

Donate a FREE mammogram online

The Breast Cancer site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman.

It takes less than a minute to go to their s ite and click on 'donating a mammogram' -- for free (pink window in the middle). This does not cost you a thing. Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate a mammogram in exchange for advertising.

Here's the web site! Please pass it along to people you know.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

BP continues to be too low

Had another tough day today with my blood pressure dropping to 86/51 and is remaining below normal. I have been having ALOT of trouble with dizziness and fatigue from this and my BP drops when I stand up. I called the cardiologist again and he wanted me to come in. This time he cut the beta blocker ( chemical pacemaker) in half but said he did not want me to come off it altogether. He also said he has no idea why this is happening. Said my sodium levels could be too low or I am dehydrated. I kind of doubt both of those as I drink water all the time and take electrolytes during my runs.

Sooo... tomorrow, I go to my oncologist to have labs done and discuss this with him. I am not sure if, since my heart is functioning at normal levels that I need to be on the beta blocker anymore. I may have to seek another opinion. As of today I am completely off the BP medications and the beta blocker is down to the lowest dose.

Chris and I are praying that I can get off both of them, for discernment for us and my doctors. I don't want to be foolish with my heart, want to be careful, but not remain on meds that I don't need to be on. Would appreciate your prayers on this as we figure out what is wrong and what to do.
Thanks~ Elayne

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Some Updates

Hi everyone~ Just wanted to give you a few updates. I did speak with the oncology nurse and all the MRI's of my lower back are fine. I am beginning to question my running shoes :) But.. that was good news that there is no sign of disease or disk problems, etc.

Yesterday afternoon I had a bit of a scare. My blood pressure dropped to 90/46 and needless to say I did not feel very good :( We cut the BP medication in half about two weeks ago because it was dropping too low. I spoke with the Cardiologist's nurse and they have told me to stop taking it altogether. Thanks Dawn, Natasha & Diane for your help yesterday :)

Most of you know I have been hoping and praying to be able to get off several of these medications which all have side effects. We all had been praying about the tests that I had last month to show the function of my heart, which both came back showing a normal, healthy heart. I believe God is answering another prayer!
Please keep this in prayer that this transition off the blood pressure med. will go without any problems.
Thanks~ don't forget to VOTE!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Thoughts :)

This is definitely a "happy thought" :) Chris and I went on a 4 day camping trip and as always it was just not long enough. Is there something wrong when you start wondering how much the park host makes and how much you would save on bills??? :)
We had a great time and I will post the rest of our pics and adventures on the family blog later.

Chris is finished his PE exam but it will be a while before we know the results.

What I know so far from an e-mail from the oncology nurse is that all the tests ( 3 MRI's) show no sign of disease, no herniation, nothing. Which is of course wonderful news! Just don't know why my back hurts so much ? I am waiting for a call from the nurse to see if there is anything I should be looking at. otherwise... another prayer answered!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friday is over :)

Well, Chris has finished his PE exam and I have made it through another set of tests.
Chris is very relieved to have it done, but he will not know the results for a couple of months. He is now taking a few days off for some R & R.

The MRI of my back ended up being 3 MRI's and took 3 hours. So... what does one do in a tube with the sounds of jackhammers, bings, bangs etc. so loud you have to wear earplugs for 3 whole hours?? For me mostly this is a time of prayer, practicing relaxation that I have learned from doing yoga, including relaxing the muscles in your body as they are tense in this situation. I am even able to fall asleep :) And of course, when anxiety and/or boredom sets in "happy thoughts " :)

This is a coping tool I have learned to use when I get anxious, upset, worried, etc. I think of places, people, events, etc. that have happy memories for me. Basically, taking your mind somewhere else. This strategy has been very helpful, especially at the beginning of this diagnosis. Chris is great in bringing up "happy thoughts" when needed :) Mostly they are of peaceful places and the outdoors especially where we have gone camping

Thank you for the prayer support, so far I have the results for one of the 3 tests ( lumbar spine) and there is no sign of metastatic disease! It was fine :) Please keep this and Chris's test results in prayer as we wait for the rest of the results. Should know on Monday for me.
Thanks~ have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Big Day Friday and updates

Hi everyone~ this Friday will be busy for both Chris and I. We would like to ask for prayer support for both of us.
Chris will be taking his Professional Engineer license exam. It is an 8 hour exam that he has been working hard to prepare for.
Also, I will be having an MRI of my lower back~ pelvic and lumbar spine. It will take about 1 1/2-2 hours for this test. I have been having pain in my lower back for quite some time and we need to check it out. We think it is from running, as my left hip and knee also hurt but we have to air on the side of caution. This was not a scheduled test, we were waiting to see if the pain went away after a month and it has not.

I am continuing to take half the dosage with my blood pressure medication and so far so good!

Thanks for those of you that were praying for my mom, she is home and feeling better. She sees her doctor this Friday.

God has been so good to us :) Thanks for your support, e-mails, posts and prayers!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Trying again to lower BP medication

I will be trying once again to lower my blood pressure medicine. Tonight I will begin taking half the dosage. Since all my tests have come back showing a normal, healthy heart I am hoping to reduce and be able to get off some of these medications. Especially the two for the heart as they both cause fatigue and dizziness.

Last time I tried to do this my BP went right back up and I did not feel well. Please pray that it will work this time and that I may soon be able to eliminate them all together.

Thanks~ Elayne

Friday, October 17, 2008

Time~ what a difference it makes..

Yesterday I had my annual Fall Southern Living "girl" party. I have been doing this for about 6 years. However last year because of the place I was in I couldn't even begin to wrap my mind around having people over for a party, but one year later I was able to not only celebrate these friendships and time together but I also was able to paint my entire kitchen ( no small job :)

Chris and I ( well I tried :) painted the dining room last year as a way to help me focus on smaller projects instead of looking out to the future which was at the time too difficult. I still have anxieties about what the future holds and still very much use this technique of smaller projects, goals and time lines which has been very helpful. Before I knew it a year had passed and many things have been accomplished! I was pretty much unable to even help last year. This year I tackled it by myself with the exception of my son Kevin helping one Saturday afternoon. Thank you Kev!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Calling on your circle~

Several years ago my back was really hurting. I thought I popped a rib out or maybe broke it. I did see several different doctors including a chiropractor that all thought the rib was "out". Even had adjustments done and going to physical therapy.
It continued to get worse, sometimes I couldn't even breath because it hurt so bad. But... after a few weeks it would ease up and sometimes go away. So, I did not think it was cancer because I had been told "if it's cancer, it won't go away".
Finally, I decided to get to the bottom of it and find out what was wrong. I was preparing for a half marathon and didn't want the rib to "go out" during the race. My new primary care doctor did a good job at looking very carefully at the rib because of my past history. They saw something suspicious on the x ray and had me do more tests.
This is when you are going into panic mode. We prayed so hard that it would be a broken rib but the more tests done the worse it looked.
To be honest at first I didn't want to tell anyone except Chris and the boys and contemplated not telling anyone else. I couldn't believe after 9 years I was back here facing this monster again. Only this time it seemed so much worse.
Because we believe so much in the power of prayer and the support of friends and family we did, after getting final results let everyone know. That was hard. Your life is turned upside down within moments and everyone knows it.
I can tell you this, when we have asked for prayer this time and the first time, I can actually feel the power in the prayers that you all are lifting up and there is great comfort in that. So, call on your circle of prayer warriors, become a prayer warrior for others and don't ever underestimate the power of prayer. From our Sunday school lesson this week on prayer~
"God can do in 5 seconds what we can't do in 5 days, weeks, months or years".

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Insight into a survivors mind~

Dear everyone~ I am thankful that things have slowed down after a very intense year and half and am looking forward to beginning the healing process. I thought it might be helpful to others going through a cancer diagnosis and for their families, friends and caretakers to share some of my experiences, thoughts,beliefs and insights of things that worked and those that did not in helping me cope with a diagnosis of an "incurable" cancer. I will now start posting as these times come to mind and hope that my experiences will help with insight to anyone affected by cancer, weather it is you or someone you love and care about. Maybe it is a stranger or someone you work with.

For these posts I will not send an e-mail notice out. Just check them as you feel you would like to or pass on to someone that it may help. For today I will start with where I am now in all of this but then I will go back to the beginning from diagnosis.

Last night I watched part of an interview with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America. She too this past year has been battling breast cancer. Her journey has been documented and she said a couple of things in the interview that were so simple yet so important. I thought I would add my own experiences on to some of hers.

1) Understanding the survivor AFTER treatment is done~ in my case the treatment will be on-going but for most there is an end as there was for me the first time. Although the majority of us do not want to be pitied or babied we do want people to understand this is not "getting over the flu". The healing process brings a whole new dimension to this fight along with fears, doubts, anxieties as well as hope for a future and trying to figure out what your "new life" looks like. Our bodies and minds have been through a war and need a lot of time to recover. So, we need time and patience :)

2)This is NOT my life story just something in my life, a part of my life. What is appreciated is being treated like you treat anyone else or the relationship as it was before. Sometimes changes do have to be made if the relationships were not healthy to begin with or worked on to change them.However, the survivor may not have the mental or emotional capabilities at this time to work on these unhealthy relationships. They may have to be put on the "back burner". Overall, day to day we are the same people and want nothing more than to live a "normal" life. But.. we are fighting for that life.

3) I cannot say I am in remission or cancer free. I can say I believe in Gods healing power and that they are not seeing any "active" cancer at this time. Having the prayer support and support of family, friends, church family and even the strangers that cheered me on by my name as I ran the half marathon do wonders for us! The connection of others is vital and the power of prayer is shown all throughout this blog and my journey. So, thank you all for your continued prayers and support.

More posts later on "living my life with metastatic breast cancer"~

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

October is breast cancer awarness month~

Now Playing - We Will

Photos of Nancy and Suzy

View our short film about Susan G. Komen for the Cure®.

One in 8 women will get breast cancer in their life. Know what the risks, warning signs, prevention and treatment options are.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Results from Cardiologist!

Good Monday Morning everyone~ just got home from my echo and visit with the cardiologist. I am happy to tell you I once again have a NORMAL HEALTHY HEART! I do have to remain on the blood pressure and beta blocker medications for now.

Of course my big question was "do I have any restrictions"? The doctor said no :) Kevin has already asked me if I will run a half marathon in Arizona, I believe in February. Team Ambo what do you think??

My challenge is going to be the meds I am on. The beta blocker ( for my heart) in particular interferes with the endurance. Not sure what to expect, but I have been given the ok to try :)

He is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trusted in Him, and he helped me. Joy rises in my heart until I burst out in songs of praise to Him. The Lord protects his people and gives victory to his anointed king. Psalm 28: 7-8

And I will give you a new heart -- I will give you new and right desires -- and put a new spirit within you. . Ezekial 36: 26

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This week~ and video

Hello everyone~
The Zometa treatment went pretty well last week. Thanks, I know so many of you were praying about that. My jaw was sore for a while but not like last time, so I will let my doctor know and see what he wants to do. I tried taking several days off from running or weights right after the Zometa to see if that helped with the body aches and pains ( you feel like you have the flu). I did yoga only and that seemed to help. The fatigue was kind of tough this time, BUT, I am now feeling good again :)
On October 6th I have an echo and visit with my cardiologist. We are praying that this test also comes back showing a "healthy" heart! I would love to start getting off some of the meds I am on, but not sure if this is the right time. These are things we are in prayer about.

My sister-in-law Cindy sent me this u-tube video. It was made Sunday at her church in Oklahoma. It is very moving and inspiring. After watching it ask yourself~What would my cardboard story be? Leave your answer in the comments section or e-mail me and I will post them for you. We all have a story~ what is yours?

Thanks Cindy!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Prayer request for this week

Hi everyone~ thank you all so much for all the encouragement and joy you have shared with me through calls, e-mails ,cards and your words regarding my test results from last week. I am feeling stronger and can notice things I could not do before that I am able to do now. Small things, like holding my arms over my head during my tests for long periods without much pain and gained strength in my upper body. Chris and I have also been able to add another mile to our run, putting us at about 16 miles per week. Hopefully, my cardiologist will give me the go to train again :)

Part of all this is, I believe,that the Zometa ( to strengthen the bones) is working and helping. However one of the more serious side effects from this drug is that it can deteriorate your jaw bone. The treatment I had last month left me with a lot of pain in my teeth and jaw, not a good sign. My doctor and I decided to try one more treatment, which is tomorrow, to see if it happens again. If it does I have to stop this as well, or only have it every 6 months to once a year. Not only is the Zometa good for bone strength but it appears it may even stop the cancer from spreading within the bone. So, I would like to ask for prayer that all goes well this week. I am usually fine the day of, it is the following days that I don't feel very well. But, specifically the jaw is our concern.

Thanks again for all your continued support and prayers. It has been a very long, hard year but we see God answering prayers every day! We continue to ask for total healing and restoration.


When I pray, you answer me and encourage me by giving me the strength I need. Psalm 138: 3

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

FOOD 4 LIFE ~ new blog!

I have decided to create a new blog

I am asked a lot about nutrition and what foods we eat so I am putting some of this information in the new blog. I have my certifications in Personal Fitness Training and Advanced Sports Nutrition, so many of the choices are based on that knowledge as well as for health and wellness with an emphasis on fighting cancer. These are simply what works best for us and our favorites, not intended to meet specific medical needs.

Feel free to check it out, try some of the foods and drinks and please leave feedback, questions or your own healthy food suggestions. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing ideas.

The permanent link will be located on the side bar ~ enjoy!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One year exactly~ test results

Wow ~ it has been a long, tough year. Last year on 9-11 I was having a bone biopsy done on my rib. Today one year later I received the best news we could have asked for!

ALL MY TESTS ARE CLEAR!!!! At this point in time there is "no evidence of metastatic disease"!
Our God is an awesome God~ He hears us when we pray and He answers!

Test results~ bone scan, this is exciting. The spot that was on my spine does not show up at all and the rib is again showing improvement.

CT and chest X Ray also show no sign of metastatic disease. No fluid on the lungs or nodules. The liver, spleen, kidneys, pancreas and adrenal glands all look ok.

Muga scan ( heart) ~ back up to 50, this puts me in normal range again!!! It is low end of normal, but normal! Blood pressure~ normal 120/70, sometimes even lower.

Blood tests~ all fine, tumor markers are in normal range and kidney function is normal.

Oh, and I also passed my PT Exam~ so I am now a Certified Personal Fitness Trainer :)

What a year and what an amazing God we have! Thank you so much for all the prayers and support from all of you during this time.

What from here? I see my oncologist in 4 months and will continue to be monitored. I will continue with the meds I am currently on including Zometa treatments once a month. That may change, but I will keep you posted.

Does this mean the cancer is gone? It means there is no sign of it at this point in time and I will always be considered stage 4 metastatic breast cancer. Is it sitting dormant, is it there but we just don't yet see it on the tests or did God take it away??

Today was a good day :)

Monday, September 8, 2008

muga scan Tuesday

Tomorrow, I will have a muga scan to check my heart again. Before the Herceptin treatments my injection fraction number was 54 ( I believe 50 is normal). It dropped down to 45, showing damage to the heart, which is why the Herceptin had to be stopped.
We are praying that tomorrow's test will show that number back in normal range. We would like to ask for your prayer support on this as well as all the test results on Thursday with my oncologist.
Thanks everyone for your support this week~ Elayne

Friday, September 5, 2008

Scan/test Day

On Wednesday Chris and I spent most of the day at the hospital getting my scans and tests done. I had to drink 2 bottles of contrast first thing in the morning but handled it much better this time. Thanks for those of you that were praying about that :)

I had a chest x ray, CT and bone scan done. What I do know so far is that my blood work looked fine, kidney function is normal ( important because of the Zometa) and tumor markers remain normal. I think from what we could tell, the bone scan looked good, just don't have official results yet. Don't know on the CT and X Ray.

Chris and I meet with my doctor on Thursday for the results. I would like to continue asking for prayer on ALL the test results.

Chris was able to come back with me during the bone scan and see what I look like as a full size Halloween decoration. This is Deb getting me ready for the scan.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

To All Survivors~

" A survivor is a triumphant person who lives with, after or in spite of a diagnosis or traumatic event. Survivors refuse to assume the identity of their adversity. They are not imprisoned by the constructs of a label. Instead survivors use their brush with mortality as a catalyst for creating a better self. We transform our experience in order to further evolve spiritually, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Our reality challenges us to go deeper.

Survivors cultivate an essence that will never be victim to a word."

From the book ~ Crazy, Sexy, Cancer Survivor by Kris Carr.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

From Fear to Faith

This is what our pastor spoke about yesterday. Before he began our music minister, Mark, asked everyone to pray for one minute. During that time I asked God to continue helping me get from Fear to Faith, not knowing what Pastor Bruce was about to say. It is amazing how God works!

Getting to the place where you have "really" gone from fear to faith has been difficult, and I am still working hard to get there. It is a surrendering of yourself and a complete trust that God knows the plans He has for you.

Pastor Bruce said the more you get to this place the dimmer things of this world become. God knows the desires of my heart and I am still working on having the faith that Habakkuk had and excited to see the plans He has for me. I ask for your prayers this week to have this kind of faith as I have another complete round of tests tomorrow and it will be a long, hard day.

Although Habakkuk was afraid and did not understand he said;
"yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Saviour.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength" Habakkuk 3; 18-19

Thanks for your support and prayers ~ Elayne

Monday, August 25, 2008

Time again for treatment and tests~

Hi everyone~ tomorrow, I will be having blood work and a Zometa treatment @ 11 am. The following week I will have another CT scan, bone scan and chest x ray. When all that is done, Chris and I will meet with my doctor to go over all the results.

I'm not sure if this part ever gets easier~ please be in prayer for ALL the test results to come back well and that I will handle the Zometa tomorrow with no problems.

I had been having a lot of pain in my back which has eased up lately.

Thanks all for your continued support~

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

August 21 ~ 10 years!

Today is my 10 year anniversary as a cancer survivor and coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my recurrence.

What if....

What if I never had cancer? My life would have been so much easier but I would not have been pushed and challenged in every way possible, to see what you are really made of and then realize you cannot do this alone.

What if, I never had to go through all these treatments and side effects? Then I would never have been able to understand what others are going through and be a friend in their time of need.

What if this happened when I was 84 instead of 34? Then I might not have cherished all the little moments watching my boys grow up and my time with my husband~ my best friend.

What if it didn't come back a second time? I would not have had the courage to do so many things and make so many changes.

What if I didn't have to face the unknown? Then I might be worrying about the future and not seeing each day for what it is ~

What if this happened to someone else instead of me? That is harder to endure.

What if I had the choice? Then I may not have realized that my life is not my own and I am not in control.

What if I didn't believe in prayer? Then I would not be able to see the power of it.

What if I didn't have comfort, peace, trust, love, strength? Then I would not have had Christ.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Jewelry Box

I received a very special gift from my brother on my birthday. My birth mother ( Barbara) died many years ago and I never got to meet her. I have however known my birth family for the past 15 years and I have two brothers, Marco & Dana.

When Barbara died Dana kept her jewelry box and recently decided to send it to me. It is the first "piece" of her that I have. I opened it up and saw a mirror in the lid of the box. I looked at it and wondered " I bet she never thought it would be my face in the reflection of the same mirror she must have looked into so many times." I went through the whole thing, piece by piece, even finding some pieces that I can wear. I can smell her perfume in the box and on the jewelry and wonder what the story is behind each piece in the box.

I believe God is in control of everything and He knew before I was born that I would not be raised in my birth family and had a different family chosen for me. He has allowed me to have both families in my life, which I am grateful for.
So for now, I have this small piece from her life to hold on to. Thank you Dana!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Dosage back up for blood pressure

I tried taking the half dosage for the BP med. for 3 days and my BP went up immediately. I felt all those feelings coming back again when it was too high. Called Friday to ask my doctor if I can raise it back up and expect to hear from them tomorrow. In the meantime I went back to the original dosage and my BP is back to normal.

I have been having a lot of pain in my back lately but it does seem to be easing up. Chris and I notice that when we have rain or storms coming it will hurt and also when I am stressed and there is a lot of tension in the muscles. Please continue to pray that this pain will go away completely. My last tests did not show any areas of concern and actually showed healing in the rib and spine. So... hopefully it is something else. I ran the last two days and that also seems to help. I think I am out of alignment :)

Also, my certification exam is this Wednesday. I have been studying very hard for it and ask for prayer that my comprehension, retention and memory will be very strong this week as I am going to need all of them :) This has been difficult to do given the last year and half and the different medications I am on. Please pray that I will do well.

We have had a quiet weekend, both Chris and I have been studying ( Chris for his professional engineer cert.) and take breaks to watch the Olympics! Go USA!!
Have a good week, thanks for checking the blogs and for all your support ~ Elayne

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Good news at the Cardiologist

I saw my doctor yesterday and expected him to raise the Beta blocker ( for my heart). I didn't like the idea of raising the dosage as it makes me tired and dizzy each time it is raised.

My blood pressure is back to normal~ actually lower than normal now, so he decided not to raise it AND cut my blood pressure med. in half! I go back in October for another echo to check my heart. We are praying that all will be back to normal with my heart and I will get the ok to begin training again. Meanwhile running has been moved indoors due to our heatwave here. We are anxious to get back outside:)

I would like to ask for prayer that my BP remains good while the dosage is being lowered and for my back. I have had a lot of pain the past week or so and continue to pray for healing. We used to tell our boys when they were little~ "Do your best, God will do the rest"!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Continue to do the things you love....

Cooper getting his swimming sticker.

My aunt Dena is great at encouraging me to "do the things you love to do". Teaching swimming is one of those things. I just wrapped up a 2 week session with 3 classes, water tots, preschool and adult.It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed teaching the kids and parents.

Next week I take my Personal Trainer Certification exam. This also will allow me to do those things I love and work with people through fitness & health. Please keep this in prayer as it has been a long, hard road to prepare for this over the last year.

An update on 2 prayer requests~ My brother Dana had open heart surgery last week and is back home and doing well! Cracking jokes and teasing me like a big brother does :)

Our neighbor Byron was hospitalized on Friday and last I heard the doctors told his family he will not be coming home, the cancer is very advanced. Thanks to all of you that have kept these 2 families in prayer, please continue to do so.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Prayer For Byron

My neighbor Byron was diagnosed with esophageal cancer one month ago. His family just came over and asked Chris to help get him in the car to take him to the hospital. This cancer is spreading quickly and he is in a lot pain. He has had radiation and just started chemo last week.
Please pray for Byron and his family. My heart hurts watching yet another person and another family going through this.
Byron is 61 years old and a sweet, sweet man. Please lift him up in prayer.
Thanks~ Elayne

Jesus said, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them," (Matthew 18:20)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Randy Pausch

Click on the link to read about a very inspirational man, Randy Pausch who lost his fight to pancreatic cancer on July 25, 2008.

I have his book, "The Last Lecture" in my list of recommended books.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A Day Of Celebration!

Lauren & Billy
On Thursday my family and our good friends, The Reeds spent the evening at the lake.We were there to celebrate my birthday, baptism, friends & family.
We had a great BBQ for dinner and yogurt pies for desert~ blueberry (my favorite) and strawberry. I may be one of the few people that enjoys having birthdays and getting older, I turned 44 and enjoy every birthday!
I was baptised in 1994, but wanted to re-commit my life to Christ as well as be baptised by submersion, which I had not been. Our great friend Billy baptised me at the lake with both our families there, it was a very special time. Thank you Billy !

My Baptism at the lake.

Baptism at the Lake

Friday, July 11, 2008

So Far, So Good

It has been over 24 hours since the Zometa and I am feeling ok. I have continued to take the Advil/Tylenol today and stayed home to take it easy. A little tired ,weak and my back hurts some, but overall, ok. I must have had a virus right after the last treatment or maybe this one was just easier. So, it looks like I will be able to continue with the Zometa to strengthen my bones. Click on the link below to see how Zometa works.
Thanks for the prayers~ God hears us when we pray!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The best Oncology Team!

Today I had my Zometa treatment again. So far so good, however I will not know till later if I have any negative side effects from it like last time. I am taking Advil/Tylenol every 4 hours just in case.

Matt was able to go with me to keep me company. He was able to meet my doctor and the nurses. They are such a great group of people with a sense of humor that I love and they truly care about and listen to their patients. Here are some pics of " my awesome team".


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