Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Each new year brings with it hope for a great year as well as fears of the unknown. I try very hard to concentrate on the hope but the fears do creep in, as they did today.
Each year on New Years my husband and I take some time, usually somewhere outdoors to reflect on the year that has just passed as well as to look ahead and set goals for the upcoming year. A great book to help with goal setting is "The Magic of Goals" by Ronald L Reynolds.
I think this is a very helpful activity for anyone but especially if you, like me are living with cancer. There is always something to strive for, to accomplish, to LIVE for!
There are times when it is very hard to see out into the future and many times we may have to take things one moment, one day, one week or one year at a time. I have been in all of these places, including moment to moment. But it is in these "moments" that we really live.
I am looking forward to spending the next few days outdoors with my husband, and thinking about the NEW YEAR ahead of us!
"True success is not something that is achieved; rather, it is something that is pursued- a series of accomplishments mixed with failure that make the present better than the past, and the future full of high anticipation and excitement".~ Ron L. Reynolds
And sometimes something unexpected happens, like the 3rd snowfall in a month in Texas and you just have to jump out there and take a run in the snow~ just because you can.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Last week I also had more labs done and all my blood work looks good including my tumor markers. So, that is good news! Basically there are 3 tests looking at the markers. One, that was elevated is back to normal. Second test is still a little elevated. The third and new test ( circulating tumor cell) that is much more sensitive came back at 0, normal is <5. So, that is very good!
Our prayer request between now and then is that Dr. A is able to get the biopsy done in office with no complications and that this area of concern is not cancer. Also that the tumor markers on all tests remain in normal ranges.
Thanks all~ praying for a healthy 2010!
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Also~ THANK YOU! everyone for the e-mails, calls and comments congratulating Chris and I on the marathon. It was a lot of fun! The post below is from race day if you have not seen it yet.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Time to fuel and pack up all the necessities. We eat a peanut butter, banana, honey sandwich pre-race, about an hour and a half-2 hours prior. We have been hydrating well all along and adding Rehydrate and some Spark before the race.
Ok, I had to add these. They are the "WHAT THE HECK WERE WE THINKING" pictures!
Nikki's probably thinking "I didn't sign up for this race, why on earth am I at the American Airlines Center at 5 am"?? We sure are glad you were there!
Kevin's friend and co-worker Agnes met us at AAC and ran the 1/2 with Kevin. Here we are getting our chip timers put on our shoes.
Oh... these feet better be ready! No, that is not my hairy leg, it is Kevin's :)
It was in the 40's and very foggy, but great for running!
Well, here is where we made our "first time marathoners" mistake. We were lined up in corral E, the last corral. In other words behind about 20,000 people. It took 16 minutes before we actually crossed the start line after the gun went off. This does not effect our overall time ( chip time) but does effect the allotted amount of time given to finish the race. That was kind of nerve racking until we got out of the crowd and back on our pace.
There were horses at the start and confetti and smoke blowing all over when the gun went off. We were so far back we couldn't see or hear a thing. We just moved with the herd :)
Catching Kevin before he crossed the start line.
Matt and Nikki caught up with us at mile 9. We almost ran right by them because around mile 7 , the 1/2 marathoners split from the marathoners and the roads really opened up. At this point we were trying to make up some significant time.
These guys were hilarious! "The Ninja Turtles". They were at the start line with us and did a great job getting everyone pumped up to start! There were also some guys dressed up as Dolly Parton. I only wish I had a picture to show you. They gave us a great laugh while we ran up the "Dolly Partons" ( 2 hills at White rock known as "The Dolly Partons")
Kevin running it in to finish 13.1 miles~ Yeah Kevin! He does this with no training, ahhh.. to be in your 20's :)
Agnes completing yet another race. I think she said 16 marathons and I don't know how many 1/2's. Go Aggie!!
Kevin getting a celebratory hug from Nikki :)
Matthew really captured some inspiring people as they crossed the finish line. These are some great shots!
We were able to run a little with this family during the race as they pushed Jackie in her wheelchair the entire 26.2 miles!
Go Team!! Team In Training~
The money raised went to Scottish Rite Hospital that helps so many children, including my two sweet nieces Erika and Sarah, and makes things like this possible.
The happiest moment was when we saw the finish line and our kids yelling, jumping and cheering us on!
A quick high five to our kids that had been waiting at the finish line for an hour and a half.
Crossing the finish line together, 26.2 miles!
CHEERS & BEERS for the runners!
Our First Marathon~ Dallas White Rock 2009!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Chris and I would like to dedicate our race first and foremost to our Lord who has given us the strength, courage, endurance and determination to do this.
We also will dedicate this race to Chris's dad, Ed Minich, who passed away just 3 weeks ago from brain cancer. He had always been such a great support in anything we did and always asked us about how our running and training was going. He truly cared and I know he will be with us.
26.2 miles for you Dad!
"I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me"
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We have been training for a very long time for this event. We began training in the spring with nice weather. Went through the blistering Texas summer running either very early in the morning or late at night but still in the 90's or higher. Then finally Fall with cooler weather!! Although it is not officially winter, this is what we woke up to yesterday~
We have trained in heat, wind, rain, & cold but... SNOW in Texas is definitly the one thing we have not trained in! Praying for great weather on Marathon Day!!
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Going through all these tests, surgeries, scares and difficult times these past few weeks definitely took it's toll and for the first time I was beginning to waver about the marathon and the purpose of completing this event at this time in my life. I have been praying about it and asking for strength, energy, confidence and reassurance.
So... as God always does, He answered. He sent a lady to us today named Sherry. We were at about mile 13 when she came along side us ( to tell me I had some pronation in my left foot) and spent the next 3 miles running with us. We talked all about running and how we all got started. She shared that she began running at 55 and is now 57- you would never have known that. As the conversation went on, I shared my story with her and told her how I have been told twice in the past few weeks that the doctors thought there was more cancer and how it turned out not to be.
Then she said, (not knowing we are Christians and believe in the power of prayer) " or maybe there have been many people praying for you and what was there has been taken away by God".
Today God sent a lady named Sherry to answer my prayer and reassure me!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Second, I had part of the results but not all. As far as the PET scan and the area of concern in my legs that all came back fine. They did not see anything on the PET except an area in the right chest wall that also showed up last January. It was followed by an MRI last year and showed nothing. This is the site of the original breast cancer. However, this time the test has shown up again with an increase in activity. The PET basically picks up energy, cancer shows as an energy. Last year the uptake showed 3.4, this time it was 7.5
So... now they want me to do a more extensive MRI of the chest to try to get to the bottom of what keeps showing up. Good news, everything else is fine. Bad news, another extensive test to check another area of concern.
The new blood test to check tumor markers has a scale of 0-3 which is considered normal range. My result was 0, so that is good.
At this point, I have spoken with my doctor and asked to put this test on hold till after Dec. 13th so I can stay strong and healthy enough to finish training and complete the White Rock Marathon. He is fine with that.Bottom line, I need a break both physically and emotionally. All of you that are runners understand the toll this will take on your training and the effect on the "mental game". I plan to spend these next 3 weeks focusing on training and praying that once again there will be another explanation for the area in my chest wall. Your prayers for both of these are welcome and very much appreciated :)
Thanks all~ don't forget to watch Ed's tribute.
Please keep the Minich family in prayer. Ed had 6 children, 4 daughter-in-laws, 1 son-in-law, 20 grandchildren, 8 great grandchildren and 2 sisters among many other family members. His passing will leave a huge hole in our hearts and lives.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
I was not real happy with my time today ( 13 minute miles overall) and I had to walk more than usual. But it has been a rough couple of weeks physically with all my tests, biopsy and surgery. As well as emotionally with two scares of more cancer. So, taking that into consideration I am happy to have finished the whole thing! 6.2 miles to go!
The weather was cool this morning and 72 by the time we finished. The park we train at had men and women from the Navy and Marine Corp. out there training new ( very young looking) recruits. That was a nice distraction and kind of fun to watch.
Our next long run will be shorter but more challenging with a lot of hills. Our hopes and prayers are for the PET scan and blood work to come back with no concerns and that I can spend these next 5 weeks finishing this training we have both worked so long and hard at.
Thank you all for your continued thoughts, prayers, comments and e-mails! They are appreciated :)
Friday, November 6, 2009
Next was the PET scan. Beginning with an injection of something radioactive that I do not want to know what it is. I just know they put you in a room the size of a closet, come in with thick purple gloves on holding a square metal (I guess) box with a cylinder shaped thing on top that has a needle sticking out of it. They close the door immediately, put this "stuff" in your arm and then you are instructed to lay still for 45 minutes. I always fall asleep because they have taken away my coffee for over 24 hours now and food for 12. I am pretty much mush by this point with a horrific headache.
Then off to the actual scan which lasts another 25 minutes and my head is now about to explode!
Finally it is over, I get some juice and a granola bar from my friend Donise that has been waiting for me and meeting "new friends" in the waiting room:) Two Advil and 3 cups of coffee later I begin to return to a human being. Donise has been such a great friend driving here from 2 hours away to be my chaperon and moral support these past 2 weeks. We make sure to get all these tests done but also make sure we get some "play" time in! This picture was taken yesterday after shopping at bath and body works :) I sure am grateful to have such a good friend who now knows more about cancer, tests, doctors and treatments than she probably ever wanted to know :)
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Therefore, I have one more test tomorrow, a PET scan and more blood work. They will be looking at my tumor markers again as well as some new blood test that I do not yet understand.
All this will be followed by a visit with my doctor next week to see where we go from here.
So... so far, so good! We continue to pray about the tests tomorrow that they will confirm the results from the MRI.
Thank you everyone for continuing to lift this up in prayer~
The LORD OUR GOD IS NEAR US EVERY TIME WE PRAY TO HIM (dEUTERONOMY 4:7)
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Ryan, the technician said today's test with me is one of the hardest ( for the patient) that he has had to do because he had to look at both legs, not just one, making it a much longer test. Also, because the bones in question are considered "long bones" they had to do the MRI from joint to joint instead of just in one spot. So, from my hip to knee for the femur and knee to ankle on the opposite leg for the shin.
They could not prop me up to relieve the pain in my back so it was literally pain the entire time. One of the hardest tests I have had to do. By the time I couldn't stand it anymore and asked for some Advil he said we only have 20 minutes left and it would not help until the test was over. So, I hung on for 20 more minutes.
He came in at the end and said "sorry, we need to start over". Quickly followed by "just kidding" :) I said "you better be or be ready to inject some pain meds in that IV".
It is done and I am awaiting the results. As much as I would hate to have damage in my legs from running it would be the better outcome. We are prepared for either result but praying that it is not cancer.
After all that; Starbucks, food, Advil, therapy bath and bed!
Monday, November 2, 2009
Some cancer risk factors are well established and well known, like smoking. Others aren’t well known at all. Here are 10 things that are linked to cancer, some of which may surprise you:
1. Shift work. For all those employees working vampire hours, it’s discouraging to hear that shift work has joined the list of items considered “probably carcinogenic to humans,” according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Studies show that women working the graveyard shift, like flight attendants and nurses, have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers are investigating how disruption of the circadian system, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, can affect melatonin production and possibly cause tumors to develop.
2. High-temperature cooking. If you like your steak grilled to a crisp, you might be putting yourself at risk for something more than just burnt taste buds. Studies cite a connection between high-temperature cooking (like grilling or frying) and colorectal cancer. The good news, however, is that this greater cancer risk only seems to come into play in people with a specific type of genetic make-up.
3. Hormones. When a woman goes through menopause, her body produces fewer hormones. These lowered levels of estrogen and progesterone can trigger uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms. Menopausal women, or women with ovary issues, can choose estrogen and/or progestin replacement therapies to pump female hormones back into their bodies. Unfortunately, these hormone therapies carry the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer, and possibly ovarian cancer. Women should carefully discuss the pros and cons of using female hormone therapies with their doctors.
4. Infection. “[We] once thought [that infection] didn’t have much to do with cancer,” says Michael Thun, MD, vice president of epidemiology and surveillance research for the American Cancer Society. However, Dr. Thun notes, infection and viruses are now linked to many cancers. For example, researchers have found connections between the human papilloma virus and cervical and ovarian cancers; hepatitis viruses B and C and liver cancer; bacterial infections and stomach cancer; and the human immunodeficiency virus and lymphomas.
5. Mom and Dad’s genes. You can develop cancer based on abnormal genes passed through your family tree. It’s more common for cancer to spread through a family based on carcinogenic exposure or just plain coincidence, but genetic mutations do occur (between 5 and 10 percent of cancers are inherited). Usually, abnormal genes are at fault if the cancer is a rare type; the person has more than one type of cancer; the person get the cancer at a younger age than is usual for that cancer type; the cancer impacts a pair of organs (like both kidneys); and childhood cancer affects multiple siblings. Prostate, ovarian, breast, and colon cancers are examples of cancers that can be passed on.
6. Diesel engine exhaust. Trying to breathe while you’re stuck behind a huge semi truck spewing out soot can be pretty miserable. However, it can be downright dangerous if you work or live near these pollutants. People who continuously inhale diesel exhaust have a higher risk of developing lung cancer, as well as respiratory problems like asthma.
7. Cancer treatments. It seems a cruel twist of fate that some therapies designed to treat cancer have carcinogenic properties. For example, tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is a medication used to treat breast cancer; however, potential side effects of the drug include the development of endometrial and uterine cancers. Some people treated with radiation therapy later develop a form of leukemia. Depending on the treatment and individual case, doctors may advise that the benefits of cancer treatments outweigh the risk of side effects.
8. Anabolic steroids. Manmade male hormones called anabolic, or androgenic, steroids can be used to help men with hormone-related problems. More often, however, we hear about the illegal side of steroids — athletes using these products to help build muscle mass and improve performance. Athletes may be able to run farther and score more points, but these skills will mean nothing if they develop one of the possible side effects of long-term anabolic steroid use — liver cancer.
9. Hair salon chemicals and dyes. Exposure to specific hair dyes, chemicals, and pigments has been linked to certain cancers for hairdressers and barbers. The IARC classifies these salon products as “probably carcinogenic to humans.” But before we all go through a lifetime of bad hair days, it’s important to note that hair dyes made for personal use have yet to show the same carcinogenic results. Hairdressers and barbers who wear gloves limit their exposure to these products. In addition, some of these cancer-causing agents already have been eliminated from certain hair products.
10. Hazards to painters. Artists should pay attention to their doctors as well as their critics. Painters put themselves at a higher risk of developing lung and bladder cancers when working with certain mediums. Although researchers have yet to determine which agents trigger the increased risk, it’s safe to say that painters who work around hazardous chemicals and pigments, including carcinogenic materials like silica and asbestos, may inadvertently be harming themselves.
Thun emphasizes that although there are many carcinogens in the world, people can do their part and keep cancer at bay by taking action in five important arenas: Avoid tobacco, eat right and exercise regularly, go for recommended screenings, limit alcohol, and maintain a healthy weight.
“If we could apply everything we know now, we could probably prevent almost half of the world’s cases of cancer,” he says.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Today we met with my oncologist to find out that my lab work shows my tumor markers are way up again and I will now need to have a PET scan and MRI of my legs. So, unfortunately it appears there is once again cancer activity in the bones.
After the next tests are in we will meet with Dr. A again to discuss where we go from here. At this point it looks like more radiation or "spot welding" as Dr. A calls it.
As you can imagine, this is quite disappointing but Chris and I feel God has me in exactly the right place with my team of doctors.
I am allowed to continue running and plan to do so. I am not in any pain from this only in my foot from running.
These next tests will show more clearly what is going on but Dr. A said I will not have to have another bone biopsy which I am quite relieved about.
Everything else including the spine and rib look fine and stable. Radiation has worked well in the first two areas so I feel pretty confident about it for my legs.
This is about all the info. I have for now but find that everyone thinks of questions I don't always cover here. So, if you have a question just leave it in the comments section and i will try to answer it there.
Monday, October 26, 2009
This will be my "breakfast" tomorrow, minus the v8 juice. It is simply in the picture so you get the idea of how big the bottles of "banana smoothie" contrast are. I have to chug both of those down before the scans, yuck! Nothing like some delicious chemicals for breakfast!
It will be a long day and it starts off with this. Can't wait to get it over with.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Simple things, like starting a new running class, getting a pass to swim at the aquatic park, painting my bathroom. I seem to go into this type of limbo where I need to make sure everything is ok before I commit or start something new.
This is not how I used to think and most people don't live their lives like this. I am often encouraged not to think this way, and hope in time it will get easier to see past 6 months at a time.
The positive that has come out of this, is that each time another 6 months goes by and a new one begins I am fully aware and appreciative of the things I had accomplished, people I spent time with and the way I spent that time.
So, as I wait for this 6 months to end and the next to begin I look back at Mothers Day, Kevin & Nikki's wedding, our 25th wedding anniversary, my birthday, Tim's move to Prague and graduation from college, having time with Matt back at home, a great camping trip and so much more!
And now, I wait and pray for the next 6 months!
Psa. 27:14 Wait for the Lord; Be strong, and let your heart take courage; Yes, wait for the Lord.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
After the nurse prepared me and the doctors came in and talked to me and Chris they took me off to begin. They gave me a drug through the IV and said "this may make you a little dizzy". I remember spinning, not being able to move the way they asked me to and then woke up sitting in a wheelchair in a different room feeling VERY drugged and tired. Kind of weird :)
They kept giving me instructions like "take a deep breathe", "get ready to get dressed" and kept taking my blood pressure. Pretty quickly I came back to semi-reality and talked with my doctor. She said she did not see anything that concerns her and she removed tissue to have biopsied. The results should be ready in about 4 days. She does still feel I will need a hysterectomy. When, will depend on the biopsy results.
Chris brought me home and has taken good care of me while working from home today. My friend Jonna brought dinner over which was great. I have not had much pain but I have also kept myself pretty well medicated to offset the pain. Have just felt really tired and a little sore. So, overall everything has gone well today. Will write when I have the biopsy results. Thank you for all the prayers!
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
For I am the LORD, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Chris and I headed to Tulsa for a long weekend to be with family and decided while we were there we would do our long run of 16 miles at Riverside Park in Tulsa, OK. This is an awesome place to run! We saw every running group out there, Tulsa Running, Fleet Feet, Runners World, TNT, Race for the cure and more, including getting to say hello to contestant Sean from this seasons "The Biggest Looser", who was out there running!
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Monday, September 7, 2009
I had a sonogram done Thursday due to some pain I was having. Thought I had a bladder infection or a pulled groin muscle. Turns out there is a thickening of the endometrial (sp?) lining that is far above normal ranges. What they saw on the sonogram unfortunatly requires me to have a biopsy tomorrow, Tuesday morning to check for endometrial ( uterine) cancer. However since the biopsy was set up I have had more complications and will have to discuss with my doctor in the morning what she wants do.With that said, I could be looking at surgery as soon as tomorrow morning or sometime this week.
There are some other variables in this that I won't get into right now but there is a possibility that there could be some other causes for these problems. My Oncologist seems pretty optomistic and said that if it is cancer the typical procedure would be a hysterectomy. But, all my doctors are on it. The most likely reason for this to have developed is a prolonged amount of time on the drug Tamoxifen ( used for breast cancer). I was on it a total of 7 years. Five the first time and 2 the second.
Chris and I would like to ask for your prayers tomorrow and as we navigate our way through this. We believe in God's love, healing powers, that He hears us when we all come together and pray and that He is in control.
Either way, I am probably looking at a hysterectomy and recovery. You all know how disappointing this is to me on so many levels as I was really feeling good and getting my life back on track. Chris and I remain hopeful that I will still be able to recover, train and complete the marathon in December. My docotor said if it is not cancer, but I still need a hysterectomy I should be able to hold off the surgery till after the marathon. That is our prayer. I realize running seems like a strange thing to be thinking about right now, however one of the main things you learn as arunner is how to persevere, something I never want to stop doing.
If or when I have to have surgery Chris will post the updates on my blog for me.
Thank you all in advance~ Elayne & Chris
Might I add, that Chris has been by my side since I recieved this very dissapointing news Friday morning. The doctor has me on "bed rest" and Chris has been taking care of everything including mopping floors , cleaning bathrooms, cooking dinners and talking me "down" when I am "on the ledge". We have spent the weekend trying to prepare in case I am out of commission for a while. More as we know...
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
and "girl it up" a little :) Tim, don't freak!!