Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Just a great day!

Yesterday began with a trip to see my oncologist, Dr. A. This was my first time to make the longer drive out to see him. It was not bad thanks to my new GPS that got me there and back no problem. I am glad I chose to stay with him and make the drive.
The news was great and the PET Scan results read as follows;

‎"There is no abnormal hyper-metabolic accumulation to suggest any evidence of recurrent or metastatic disease. Previously seen uptake in the right anterior chest wall has COMPLETELY RESOLVED in the interim". 

Dr. A said my labs looked fine and to come back to see him in 6 months! I have been having some trouble with stiffness and tightness under the arm that was radiated. He said it is scar tissue and to stretch it, massage and continue with exercise.  Was given the ok to swim ( laps) and train for a tri-athalon if I want to :) He knows I will know what the limits are and trusts me not to push too hard. It is wonderful when there is an equal trust with your Dr. He allows me to live my life and said I have been able to accomplish things he has not seen others do. With that said, he and I both give the Glory to God!

Came home to a nice clean house, thanks to Maria and was able to take my CEC exam to keep my Personal Trainer Cert. current. Passed that, paid my yearly dues and am all set until the next exam in 6 months.

Today ends another session with my "Little Swimmers" and Monday begins session 3!

When you live test to test, month to month and day to day, it is just nice to have a great day!


Thursday, July 22, 2010


PET SCAN IS NEGATIVE!!!! Thank you God for your mighty protection...thank all of you for your continuous prayers.


"Lorica"- named for a Roman coat of armor that is meant for the protection of the one wearing it:

I arise today through Gods strength to pilot me:

Gods might to uphold me,

Gods wisdom to guide me,

Gods eye to look before me,

Gods ear to hear me,

Gods word to speak for me,

Gods hand to gaurd me,

Christ with me, before me, behind me

Christ in me, beneath me, above me

Christ on my right, Christ on my left,

Christ when I lie down, sit down and when I arise

Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,

Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,

Christ in every eye that sees me, in every ear that hears me

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What has become a routine morning for a husband & wife

This morning Chris and I were up early to head out for a PET scan and more blood work. They sure took a lot of tubes today.This test is for me one of the harder ones.
It begins the day before with the restriction of all caffeine, sugar, exercise/activity for 24 hours.Already I am not having fun. Without failure I wake up with a headache that continues to get worse by the minute and there is nothing I can do to stop it.
After an hour drive to the hospital, we check in and wait to be called for labs. Here a port is put in my arm, about 6-8 tubes of blood taken and off to the next waiting room.... radiology.
OK, here is the part that just kills me. Most people in this room, like me have not been allowed food, drink, caffeine, etc. So as soon as you walk in ahhhh..the smell of fresh coffee! But most of us can't have any! I asked Chris if he wanted some, he looked as bad as I felt. He said "no, I will wait for you". I said, it won't hurt my feelings if you get some ( I sure would of it I were him:). He was kind and waited till I was called back before he got some.
Next, I am escorted to a room about the size of a closet where you sit back in a recliner to begin.
           "During a PET scan, a patient receives an injection of a small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) into their bloodstream.  There is no danger from this injection.  The radiation exposure associated with PET is similar to that of conventional CT scanning.  Next, the patient will wait about an hour while the injection is distributed through their body.  Then the patient will lie on a table, keeping their head still, that will slowly pass through the scanner. 
            The entire visit lasts about two to three hours.  The actual procedure is safe with no side effects, and lasts about forty-five minutes". Today, I fell asleep listening to my ipod during the first part and had to be woken up :)
The difficulty I have with this test is from the headache and lack of food. I usually feel very tired and weak. 
I am very fortunate to have Chris bring me to the hospital and then take me to Corner Bakery when we are done for food and coffee!It makes me feel better when he is with me. He tells me "don't worry, I've got your back".

I give myself a break on these days to take it easy after I get home and rest so I feel better tomorrow to teach my classes.
I hate doing these tests but also realize how necessary they are to monitor how I am doing, and to see if my treatments are working.
This was the first scan since my surgery and radiation.... so please pray for great results. While I waited in the scanner today, I simply prayed to God and said "you know".

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another life lost to cancer....

Good-bye my friend and "sis" Dalilah. I will miss your smiling face, your love and faith in God, a friend that understood and encourged,who was always brave, strong and inspiring. I know you are now free from pain and at peace. I will miss you. Thank you for your friendship.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

OK, so maybe it was too soon for the backpack!

Today I saw my radiologist due to some pain/ swelling and discomfort under my arm and in the chest areas where I had surgery & radiation.
It began while we were on the trip and we were suspecting I strained the muscles and maybe was developing some lymphodema.
The doctor checked it out today and said it is not acting like typical lymphodema and feels I overdid it carrying the backpack.
I tried swimming yesterday to see if that would loosen it up, but it just made it worse.
The good news- he said he could not feel any cancer and thinks it is just strained. I need to let it heal.
The not so good news is I can't and wasn't supposed to be lifting anything heavier than a gallon of milk. I also can't swim ( lap swimming) until next summer.
He said over this next year it will be healing and scar tissue will be forming as well as some changes to the skin. So... until next summer, I have to take it easy on that arm and keep the radiated area covered from the sun.
He said running is still fine :)
I am scheduled to have labs and a PET scan to check everything out. I will then see my oncologist. This is all part of my normal care/check up. I believe the PET scan will be next week, so prayers for good test results are appreciated :) Thanks all!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Getting back to it!

I think we are finally over jet lag and everyone is back to work including me :) I am currently teaching my second session of swimming lessons. We began classes yesterday and had a great time!
This session I am getting to teach a few of my nieces and a nephew so that will be special. I have one more session lined up for August and then back to boot-camps and 5k run groups in the fall.
Little Swimmers- session one....

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another son getting married!

                                   Tim and Stephanie are engaged!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

The Weary Travelers

Our trip has come to an end and needless to say we are both weary from our travels. It has now been one week since we returned home and we are not quite back to normal yet.It was a fantastic trip that has left us with wonderful memories and experiences.
In case you are wondering or even planning such a trip here are some hopefully, helpful, hints we can offer from our experiences.

First and foremost, do use a travel book/guide. You don't have to follow every bit of advice, however when you are starting from nowhere it is helpful to use the experience and advice others have to offer.We chose to use Rick Steves' books and they were invaluable.

What we might have done differently; maybe picked fewer places to see and spent more time in each. The constant traveling on planes, buses, taxis, subways, etc. was very taxing and we became exhausted by the end of the trip. Yet... we don't regret going to any of the places we went.

We loved staying at the Bed & Breakfast's, however that puts you on a schedule if you want the breakfast part of the deal. Therefore, we never were able to sleep in and have a "lazy" morning. Something to consider.

We chose to mix up our trip with some sightseeing and some outdoor activities. We feel that was a great decision and I believe  the highlights of the trip ended up being the outdoor activities, such as climbing Mt. Brendan in Ireland and biking from Brugge to Holland along the canals.

We did follow Rick Steves' advice and carried only one backpack each. It is very doable and if you are planning a trip like this, I strongly suggest it. We never once had to check in luggage which saved us time and expense. If you are flying on multiple airlines as we did, find the one with the strictest requirements for carry on bags and go by that.

Lots of people want to know how we packed with so little. Bring 4-5, easy to wash and dry outfits that you can mix and match. I washed clothes in the sink twice and a laundromat once. It was easier and faster to wash in the sink and let air dry.

We also chose not to go shopping for "souvenirs". Several reasons for that; you need more room in your bags to bring them home, you spend valuable time shopping when you could be experiencing instead, most of that stuff ends up in the "goodwill box" sooner or later anyways and you have to stand in another line to "declare" what you bought. Skip it... go hiking or biking or sightseeing instead. We took a camera and I will make a scrapbook for a keepsake.

With such a long flight over there, we left at 9 pm on an overnight flight. Coming home it was a noon flight. We both felt the overnight flight was better. You don't sleep well, but it sure goes by a lot faster. Bringing night shades to block out light both on the plane and for sleeping once there was very helpful. It gets dark very late and the sun rises very early. you get some  This was taken at 4:30 am in Prague.

We learned to embrace each culture and understand it is different from where we live.

Ask questions, most people are more than willing to point you in the right direction or answer your questions. We found it easier to just ask than try to read signs and maps ( especially when they were not in English). Learn a few basic words if you are somewhere that English is not the primary language, it can go a long way! Oh, and point to what you would like on the menu, it is easier than trying to explain it.
Most of all, be flexible and open to changing plans. We had planned a bike trip in Ireland but ended up climbing a mountain instead! It was a great trip :) Enjoy a few more pics from this beautiful part of the world!

Friday, July 2, 2010

And Finally London!

Next day was our trip into London! We took the train in from Windsor and it took about an hour with way too many stops. This added 2 hours of traveling into the day we were not expecting.
However, when we arrived and walked onto the bridge and saw the city it was quite amazing.

There is so much to do and you really need about a week if you are wanting to see everything or as much as possible. So with only a day planned we mapped out a walk that took us to all the sights we really wanted to see.
Big Ben~

Trafalgar Square, which was one of my favorite places. We were surprised how much freedom they gave everyone to climb all over the statues and sculptures outside the National Gallery.

Most of the museums are free in London but again, you need a lot of time.
At the National gallery we saw paintings by Picasso, Di Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet, and many others that I had never heard of :)

Buckingham Palace

The London Eye

House of Parliament, with protesters camped out on the lawn out front.

West Minister Abby

The National Horse Guard

St. James Park, where we had a picnic lunch.

After a long day visiting the city of London, we headed back to the train for the ride back to Windsor.
It would have been nice to see some more of the museums and go to a show, but we both felt we were able to see enough for the first visit!


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