Friday, December 16, 2011

Looking Back

It's Friday, and there are eight more days until we begin the celebration of Christmas together. This year will be a bit  different from the past. It will be my first Christmas as a "Nonna" (grandma). It will also be the first year we are having a family sleepover on Christmas Eve! Not just my kids and their families, Liam's other G-parents and their whole family!Yup, 13 of us having a slumber party! Twelve adults and one baby boy.
My last post was about "slowing down" and making some changes. So, am I up to all this? Honestly, I am not sure.But, boy am I looking forward to it!

 At this time of year I tend to feel overwhelmed. The anxiety and fears sometimes get the best of me. Even with all  that I am looking forward to.  While writing this I decided to look back at what I wrote a year ago. Some of the feelings are the same, some have become easier to deal with. Realizing, this may just be ongoing and need a little "tweaking" from year to year.

And then.....I read the next post and was reminded to have faith and to trust God in all of this. Weather it is about having the energy and stamina for the holiday celebrations or worrying about what next year will look like. None of it is in my hands.
  By looking back at last year and seeing these same struggles I felt before, followed by  the truth that He makes it so much better than I could ever imagine it to be, find myself once again, looking forward to Christmas 2011 and celebrating Him who makes all things possible!
                                                     "MERRY CHRISTMAS"! ~ elayne

Friday, December 9, 2011

Changing Perspectives

It's been a  while since my last post. In part I have just been busy, but I  have also been working on "Changing Perspectives". I suppose we all reach points in our lives when we have to make some adjustments. This is one of those times. Put quite simply, we are tired!
 I was speaking with a good friend and she said "you guys have not had time to rest or recover from the past 5 years. I have known this, but for some reason it was a "light bulb moment". Although our lives remain full and busy, we are trying to slow down and prioritize.We have recently made a few changes, some easy, some not.
After weighing the pros and cons I decided to discontinue teaching  5k classes through the Parks and Rec. dept. This was not an easy choice. I met some wonderful people and was able to share my love of running with them. I will continue to teach 5k classes on my own and hope to rejoin the community another time. For now, I am very thankful for the ladies I am training.
This next one wasn't actually planned. My laptop crashed so I have been limited to computer time. This gave me the opportunity to realize how much "white noise" I was dealing with. The internet has made it possible to keep in touch and connect with so many people and I love that! With that opportunity also comes maintaining so many relationships which can be a bit overwhelming.However, my blog has been a good outlet and I do plan to continue writing.I had stopped going to the Writers group and really miss that. My plan is to rejoin them in January.
I am still running, but nothing like before. I have struggled with that. The fatigue from this last round of treatment really nailed me. Building back up in all areas has been difficult, but I am feeling less of the fatigue now and running a bit more.
Each year I like to have at least one event that I participate in. We made the decision to cancel the Family and Friends annual Turkey trot this year...another hard choice. Chris and I did get up and run 3.1 miles that day, just by ourselves. I had a surprisingly great run!
Although I may not have run an "official" race this year I am content with conquering the Kayak/Hike trip we did in Hawaii! That was an adventure!
Now that I have my grandson in my life, he too has become a wonderful priority. I have been putting aside one day a week to spend time with him...and we are always open to babysitting :) He is good medicine!
So, here I am still after all these years trying to find the balance between a full, happy life with metastatic cancer and recognizing when to rest and give ourselves permission to take the time to  heal and recover.

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Finally received the "official" report from my CT scan. I am, once again dancing with Mr. NED....NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE! Next test will be a PET scan in December.
 Thank you to all my friends and family. Please watch and know how important all of you are to me. Especially the # 1 person fighting this with hubby Chris ♥ My thanks and ♥ to all of you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Swept off my feet...

Yes, a little guy named Liam has swept me off my feet! I am having a blast being his Nonna and spending one day a week with him. He is now 6 weeks old and has kept us all on our toes.
While Chris and I were away on our Fall camping trip, Liam had to have an unexpected surgery for pyloric stenosis.
"In his Daddy's arms"
 My daughter in law and son caught it early, he spent 2 nights in the hospital and was home in time for his first trick or treat :) He saw his surgeon today and is doing great! Besides an ear infection, all is well. His name means "Strong-Willed Warrior" and has been very fitting, he has been so strong through this.
The highlight of my week has become "Nonna Day"! My house has baby "stuff" in it once again and I bought diapers for the first time in 20 years! Last week Nikki brought the jogging stroller over saying "it will get more use here". I can't wait to take him for our first run together!  Just love my time with Little Liam and being able to enjoy this part of my life as a grandparent!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Two weeks old!

Time for my two week check up!

Watching my first baseball game with Daddy and Papa Chris!

                           Spending my first "Nonna days" with Liam. 
He had his 2 week check up with the same pediatrician my kids all went to from birth. It was surreal bringing my grandson back to the same doctors office I used to bring the boys to.
We ended the day watching the Rangers with daddy and Papa Chris :) Loved every minute of it ♥

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do you "Think Pink"?

I have found myself struggling with the month of October for the last few years. I wanted to write about how I felt regarding the "pink month" but was not quite sure how to put it into words as I have mixed emotions on this subject. I read this message from Dr. Susan Love for Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day on a friends blog. I believe she says it well for those of us who may not "Think Pink".

"By now you have noticed that it is October, and that a pink haze has settled on the land. The message of “early detection saves lives” has been broadcast on every form of media available. But there is a part of the breast cancer story that is less “feel good” and less frequently mentioned– woman living with metastatic breast cancer.

Have we gotten better at detecting breast cancer? Yes. Have we gotten better at treating this disease? Yes. But we haven’t gotten good enough. Despite doing everything that we now can, about 25 percent of the women who are diagnosed with and treated for early-stage breast cancer will later learn that they have metastatic disease. An additional 4 to 6 percent of all breast cancer cases will be in women whose initial diagnosis is stage IV, metastatic disease.

Right now, about 150,000 people in this country are living with metastatic breast cancer. At this stage, the cancer can be treated–and women can live for many years with stage IV disease– but it is not considered curable.
These women, as Roni Caryn Rabin wrote in the New York Times, “…are not [leading] pink-ribbon lives: They live from scan to scan, in three-month gulps, grappling with pain, fatigue, depression, crippling medical costs and debilitating side effects of treatment, hoping the current therapy will keep the disease at bay until the next breakthrough drug comes along, or at least until the family trip to Disney World.” Some will live for years; others won’t be so lucky. Elizabeth Edwards comes to mind.

October 13 is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and I can’t tell you how important it is that there is at least one day in October that is dedicated to acknowledging that not everyone is cured and not every cancer is found early. We need to stop congratulating ourselves on our progress and start focusing on figuring out why these women have not benefited from all the money we have raised. Reach out today to someone you know that represents the other side of breast cancer, the one that is not so pink. We will not have accomplished this goal as long as one woman dies of this disease!"

CT scan results

Thank you for the encouraging comments left on my last post. "I am a fan of hope". I truly appreciate them.
This past week I received a preliminary email from my Oncology nurse stating that my scans looked fine, followed by a confirmation from my doctor.

I have not spoken to anyone or received a copy of the CT scan yet, so I don't have any details.

One of my concerns, other than everything being ok, is if there has been any damage or scarring to my lungs from the radiation. Still waiting to hear, but no noticeable problems.

As for how things are going now, I am feeling much better! My energy levels are getting back to pre-treatment levels. However, when I overdue it I pay for it :) I am not back to a regular running routine yet, but doing between 2-4 miles at least twice a week. I have such a long way to go!

These past 2 weeks I have been spending time getting to know and love on my grandson,Liam.

Thursday, October 13, 2011


Today is Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day. Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from the primary site to other structures or organs, nearby or far away. There are 150,000+ women and men affected by metastatic breast cancer in the US. See More

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Waiting on scan results

Monday was my follow up CT scan. No official results yet, but I think they are ok. Waiting to talk with my doctor and get a copy of the results.
                                          One week old today!!!
After a long morning at the hospital ...this is exactly what I needed. Napping with my grandbaby boy :)
Nonna & Liam

Sunday, October 9, 2011

4 days old!

Here he is! I am a Nonna to this little peanut...Liam James :) After 13 hours in labor, my beautiful daughter(in-law) and son welcomed their first son and our first grandson. I was blessed to be in the delivery room and hear his first wonderful cry. I will write a separate post later on what it means to be a grandparent after 13 years of living with cancer. For now, I am just loving each and every moment with him :)

                                       Going home!
                                                   Liam & me (Nonna)
                                              Just a few minutes old
                                                   Liam James

Monday, October 3, 2011

False Alarm and other happenings.....

False alarm Saturday night! We were all out eating dinner and Nikki began having consistant contractions. A call to her doctor and off we went to the hospital thinking it was time to meet our grandson! Four hours later, at 2 AM  the anxious parents to be and family, were all sent home. No progress. It is now Monday night and Liam has not yet made his appearance. So...we wait.
Nonna and Papa Chris at the hospital

On the health news front; my energy is getting better each week. The radiation burn continues to be a slow and painful process. Having to be creative wearing light clothes on my skin then my regular clothes on top.  My doctor did order a cream made of aquaphor and lydocaine, I believe. It too has helped. This has been my worst burn yet. It is very upsetting just to look at it.
Monday I will be having a CT scan to see how things are going. Prayers for clean test results are appreciated.
My tumor markers were down prior to treatment but still a little high.

Still teaching and training my classes. Running and walking a little bit. Nowhere near where I would like to be and I miss it. However, my daughter (in-law) Stephanie ran the Komen 5k Race for the Cure on Sept. 24th with a very good time!
Stephanie's birthday dinner with family & friends
Hopefully, my next post will be a picture of our Little Liam!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Feeling The Burn....

No, not the kind of burn you feel from a great workout. This burn is from the radiation treatments. Each day my skin is turning more red/pink, cracked and worn. It is becoming very difficult to have any clothes touching my skin or lay on my side. If I hold some thing hot, like a cup of coffee near it I can feel the burn. No baths at all, shower is with cool water.

I have been doing some walking/running, but without a doubt the friction from the clothing and sweat make it much worse. :(

I had been using pure Aloe Vera but now have switched to a medication they gave me last year called Regenecare, HA

It is crazy how the radiation continues to work in your body well after treatments are finished. This is apparent as I see my skin getting worse each day. Hopefully soon, this will turn the other direction.
                    "breast cancer isn't always a pretty pink ribbon"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Just two more days....

This Saturday is the first Denton, KOMEN RACE FOR THE CURE! I am not quite ready for this race but my daughter (in-law) Stephanie is! She is running, raising funds and awareness for breast cancer. She is close to her goal,please support her as she supports us! Thank u Steph!
Click on the link below for her personal web page...thank you!
Join me in the fight!
Elayne & Stephanie

My son's son....we are getting close to Liam's arrival!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oncologist, Radiologist & labs...

Well, today I got both my doctors at the same time for my 2 week check up. It can be a bit intimidating with 3 guys ( hubby there too) in the room and we are all there to look at my chest. But... the good news is "it appears the rash is gone and the cancer cells are dead"! So, the chest looks good, albeit the burn is still pretty bad.

My radiologist seemed pleased. I told him the fatigue threw me for a loop this time and I have had a cough for a week ( concerned about my lungs). He said it will be about 8-10 more weeks to recover. However, "because I am young (LOL, I am about to be a grandma:) and active I should recover sooner".

The visit with my oncologist went like it usually does. I don't fit any mold and he is never quite sure what to do with me. Don't misunderstand that statement. We love Dr. A. and know he is doing everything he feels is best to keep me well and have a good quality of life. He told Chris and I "you two are living life and I want you to continue doing that"!

He is keeping me on my usual meds (Faslodex and Tykerb) for now. We have stopped the Lupron. I will be having a CT scan in 2 weeks and a PET scan in December to make sure there has been no further spread. Last set of scans were done in June and they were all clear.

First set of lab results today were all normal. Waiting on the tumor marker results.
So, all and all, things look good as of today. Some more labs and tests to check me out and hopefully I will be ok once again.

I still have a road to recovery in front of me, but each day is a bit better. Walked 3 miles last night with a half mile run at the end :)

Thank you everyone for everything..especially your prayers!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Feels like home!

After 4 weeks of being out of commission from most everything, including exercise of any kind, I finally went for a 2 mile walk last night with Chris!

We were getting ready to go and I said " let me grab my shoes". I slipped them on my feet, stood up and said "oh, that feels good, feels like home" :)

The air is finally cooler here and it felt so good to be back out there! I came home just as I left, tired..but happy to have done it. This morning after teaching my class, two of the ladies from the group walked 2 more miles with me.
Back at home in my running shoes....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Supporting Stephanie

Friends and Family~  I had planned to run the 2011 Komen Race For The Cure in Denton this year. Unfortunately, I will not be running since having just finished chemo/radiation for stage IV breast cancer.However, my daughter-in-law is running and fund-raising for this event! Please help support Stephanie Minich reach her goal of $100 at her personal Komen web page.Thank you in advance for your support to raise funds for breast cancer research.

Elayne & Stephanie

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Grandbaby Boy is almost here!

Give yourself a break!

This was a conversation I had last night with my husband;
Me; Chris, I still feel so bad. I am so tired, still having many side effects, and can't do the things I want to do.

Chris; Well, how long did Dr. A. say it would take after treatment before you would begin to turn the corner?

Me; 2-4 weeks.

Chris; How long has it been?

Me; will be a week tomorrow. I guess I need to give myself a break huh?

Chris; ya think?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

End of Treatment!

Friday was my last day of radiation and chemo after  20 straight days ( (weekends off)! I am feeling better as the day to day hits are no longer a part of my regime.
My skin is burned over a fairly large area, but no complications as of yet. I believe using pure aloe vera gel helps tremendously! As soon as my treatment was over I would apply it immediately and then once or twice more during the day. Continuing to do so.
The Xeloda (oral chemo) messed my stomach up, made my bones and joints hurt, caused insomnia and incredible fatigue, but all that too is improving.
During the last week of treatment I also had to have a Faslodex injection. Those also tend to cause insomnia and bone/joint pain for the first 2-3 days. Needless to say I am a mess with sleep patterns and fatigue right now.

Overall I think I faired well. Only had to cancel 2 of my 4 running groups and honestly I don't think anyone would have come with the terrible heat we had this summer. Dangerously hot for runners. Can't say I was too upset about that.
Otherwise, I was able to continue teaching my GroupFit and Personal training classes, taking just the very last week off. Teaching all four sessions of my "Little Swimmers" was, as always a joy!

Exercise and nutrition...well, that went well for the first 2 weeks and then downhill. I am anxious to run again and have been drinking lots of smoothies, and veggie juices as my stomach is still not back to "normal".

The Thank you List!!
There were so many people who brought us dinners. Thank you to everyone, it was and continues to be so much help! Also to my "drivers" Matt and Vicki..a big thank you for your company and keeping me from falling asleep or getting lost. Chemo brain big time! To  Vince, who I spent 10 minutes with every day as he administered the radiation. It makes such a difference when your health care professionals are as kind,patient and respectful as Vince was. Then to all of you for your thoughts, prayers, cards, emails and FB messages!
I prayed before my last radiation that I would be healed and never have to return to this place.Before I took my last dose of chemo, Chris and I again prayed the same thing.
So glad it is over and pray it remains so. Follow up with both doctors in 2 weeks.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"Climbing Mount Brandon"

My story "Climbing Mount Brandon" has been approved, accepted and entered into a writing contest on Amazing Travel Stories. I hope you get a chance to read it and hit the "Like" button if you like it :) You can also rate and leave a comment if you wish. Hopefully you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Week 3 news

Three weeks  of treatment are now complete and I am definitely feeling it!  Had a rough morning today, can tell it's Friday. Happy to have the weekend off!
I saw my radiologist on Tuesday. He said the rash ( re-occurrence)is looking good so far. My treatments were reduced from 13 more to 8 more! They will increase in intensity but.. I will be finished next Friday! Five more to go!
Driving home from treatment some guy ran into the back of my car. Chris had just had new bumpers put on my Pathfinder while we were in Hawaii. Fortunately, between the large bumper and trailer hitch, the damage was not to my car as far as  I can tell. To make it worse, we had to stand on the side of the highway in 116 degrees! :(
As things are getting a bit harder I have asked for help with dinners. We have been so fortunate to have friends and family that have stepped in to help. Our son and daughter-law made an incredible vegetarian dinner for everyone and then  yesterday, I spent a wonderful day  with my daughter-in-law, Stephanie. She made 2 dinners  to freeze while I took a nap :) Thank you so much Steph ♥ My youngest son Matt also helped out and made grilled steak and chicken, homemade mashed red potatoes and spinach salad! I could get used to this :)Not bad for having all sons :) During dinner, we all got to feel baby Liam kicking away. Nikki said he kicked a lot when his Nonnie (me:) felt his little feet!
Lastly, this was a post left on my blog by a lady named Vicki that really meant a lot to me. A great example of how the Lord works in our lives.
"Wow, you don't know how much that just inspired me! 13 years!! I just hit "next blog" on my blog and landed right here and am so happy I did. I am just 5 months into a stage IV bc diagnosis. Thanks for the big dose of optimism and healthy living I aspire to achieve :) "
Vicki~ I think we have a mutual blog friend, Kim.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

13 YEAR Cancerversary!

Well, I just realized today is Aug. 21. That means I am "officially" a 13 year (4x) cancer survivor!
Although every year is a milestone, I do wish I were not in treatment for this years "cancerversary". Week two of chemo and radiation are finished with an expected three more weeks to go.
Overall, physically I am doing ok. My skin, from the radiation is getting more and more burned with each day. As I have in the past I apply pure Aloe Vera several times a day including right after treatment. This seems to help a lot. I am sure I will have to move up to something stronger in the coming weeks. I have been able to drive out and back (45 min.) myself or my son Matt goes with  me. Still ok here :)
The chemo (Xeloda) was a bit tougher week 2 as well.  Some increasing side effects include; trouble with my stomach, lack of appetite, taste buds more sensitive, fatigue in the late afternoon/evenings, and joints hurting more now. Chris and I are planning to cook and freeze some dinners as I am too tired at that time of day to begin cooking. (* some of you have asked about helping with this, please e-mail or call me if you would like to bring a dinner we can freeze over the next 3-5 weeks).
Emotionally, having to slow down with my classes, deal with the new side effects and confront the fight again has been hard. Probably time to see Dr. Kevin again :)
With all that said, here are the positives. Chris and I are getting up and running 3 miles in the mornings, 3x per week.  I was able to finish out my summer teaching my "Little Swimmers".  GroupFit and personal training continue on. I have missed the past 2 writers groups, but hope to go back in September and get more focused with some ideas I have.
Today we will be spending  time with all our kids. Can't think of anywhere better to be on this "cancerversary"....well, maybe Kauai :)
Thanks for your thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baby Shower for Liam

We all celebrated the anxious arrival of our first grandson, Liam. My daughter-in-law had a beautiful baby shower last week. We are getting close and can not wait to meet him!

Nikki at 32 weeks!

The Liam Express

Liam with his Mommy, Grandma's and Great-Grandmothers!

Opening presents :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

The first week

Just thought I would give an update on how things are going since beginning "Round 4". I am currently in day 6 and have one week under my belt!
I have been taking the chemo pills ( xeloda) twice a day and thankfully the side effects have been minimal so far! Because of the risk of hand/foot syndrome I am taking a few precautions. Chris and I are continuing to run, however 3 miles is my limit, 3-4 times per week. So far, no problems. I have also been able to continue teaching my "Little Swimmers" lessons and I am now wearing my water shoes so my feet don't rub on the bottom of the pool.
Chris and I feel it is so important to stay as strong and healthy as possible during treatment so on the 2 days during the week we don't run, he is lifting weights and I am concentrating on yoga and stretching.
I find this really helps to keep me calm and relaxed. One of my goals is to be able to use the relaxation techniques from yoga during radiation. As I wait for the machine to turn on my heart starts to race and my breathing speeds up. It is hard to control, so I will be working on that :)
The drive out  for radiation is 45 minutes and the treatment takes 45 seconds. To pass the time and keep my mind occupied I am listening to an audio book "Three Weeks With My Brother" by Nicholas Sparks. There is a small farmers market on the way home that I hit once a week for peaches and other goodies.
I did decide to cancel 2 of my "5k Learn to Run Classes". It was a hard decision but we have been over 100 degrees since June with nearly no rain. The classes were to be held at night and I just did not think I could take that on during treatment. I am still teaching the above mentioned swim lessons, GroupFit and Personal training. At this point I do not plan to take on any more but am still training to run the Komen 5k in September , two weeks after treatment is finished.
Trying my best to stay busy, but not overdo it, relaxed, but not to a point of bordom, exercise to help with the fatigue and health but no marathons.....yet.
I will leave you with a very big THANK YOU for your thoughts, prayers, & messages! And a couple of my favorite pics from our Kauai trip.

Kayak Kauai

Run Kauai

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Round 4....DING!

Well Folks, round 4 begins tomorrow. I will enter into my fourth round of being in treatment of some kind.
After talking with Chris and my doctors,praying and seeking some more opinions, the consensus is that I do 5 weeks of radiation (M-F) in conjunction with an oral chemotherapy (xeloda).
The xeloda will be taken 2x a day, 5 pills each time. The radiation will be given once a day with weekends off for both treatments.
I will continue to stay on the Tykerb, which is 4 pills before bed and the faslodex injections.
Needless to say, Iam not looking forward to all this.  We are praying that the side effects will be minimal or none and that I will be able to contiue teaching, training and doing my normal daily routine.
Most of all we are praying that God will keep me safe and that the treatments will do what they are intended to do and nothing more. We once again pray for healing.
Chris and I took 8 wonderful days and spent them in Hawaii on the Island of Kauai. It was a great time to get away, think, pray, relax and have fantastic adventures! I will post a slide-show later for those that are interested.
Thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers~ elayne & chris

Thursday, July 21, 2011

An Unexpected day...

Today did not go anything like I thought it would and I can not say it went well.
I knew I was going to meet with the radiologist this morning. My understanding  was to go talk about whether or not more radiation could be done to the chest area again. I had some questions ready to ask, thought I would come home, share with Chris and consider what to do.
Part one; I get in my car to leave and it is dead! It sputters a little and dies. I leave it half in the driveway, and covering the sidewalk. I jump into Matt's car, whose door does not open and you have to crawl across the seat to open the drivers door. Of course this happens the one day I decide to wear a skirt! Off to a great start..
Part two; After more than a year since I last walked through the doors to radiology, it was not a great feeling being back. Everyone is super nice but I really didn't want to see them again.
Now I am taken upstairs to have vitals checked, BP 155/100. Not good! Nurse gets me some water and has me take some medicine for anxiety. Next, the doctor comes up, has me change to the lovely gown and looks at my "rash" which is really the tumor. After we discuss when all this began, how it's changed, etc. he gets a sharpie, yup a marker and draws all over me. He is now marking where the radiation will be. It is a big area and I look something like Matt did when he was 3 and colored himself with markers. I know this is all a normal part of the procedure, I just wasn't mentally ready for it to happen today.
We talk some more, I try to ask the obvious question, "what happens if I get too much radiation". Some of the answer wasn't so bad, some was awful. He sends me downstairs to have more prep done so I will be ready to begin treatment. I am still in my lovely gown, my shirt is in my purse and I am on the elevator with strangers. Door opens to more people getting on, how embarrassing!
Then, there I am once again lying on that table, trying to hold it together while I am prepped for 25 more rounds of radiation. I am told they need a picture of me ( my face) for my file. I stood there thinking "Am I supposed to smile? Because I really don't want to. But I did.
Part Three;
I am asked if I take Xeloda along with my Tykerb. Xeloda is an oral chemotherapy usually taken with Tykerb. Also used to increase the effects of the radiation treatment, resulting in what one hopes are better results. I tell him no, I have not.He calls and speaks to my Onc. They think I have had it in the past but I know I have not. I don't think he trusted my memory. You don't forget if you have had chemo.
So, my two doctors decide the radiation combined with the chemo for 5 weeks is the best thing to do. are also starting chemo!! Ummm, Can I work, can I teach, can I be out in the sun/heat?? Answer, for a few more weeks. There goes the dagger right through my heart :(
Part 4;
So,I climb back in the car,call Chris and loose it. When I get home I try hard to keep my mind on my upcoming vacation. I go to the airline site to make sure I know all the rules and regulations for "carry on" bags. While there I run into this. Because I am a breast cancer survivor, I am advised to fill this out and present when I go through the screening procedure at the airport so I can be taken somewhere discreet if I have to have a "pat down" and they discover a prosthesis. "health condition, disability, medical device"! Ouch, those words stung!

Now, I realize these choices are mine to make and I will be thinking, researching, getting advice and most importantly praying for discernment.
Needless to say, this was an "unexpected day" in which I feel everything has just flipped upside down.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A very long day!

Well, finally it is over! PET scan was this morning followed by an apt. with Dr. A. First things first, the test results were all clear! Prayers answered in a mighty way! This does not mean I have not had a re-occurrence, I have.It is located in  the original cancer site and will require treatment.
The amazing part is that absolutely nothing showed up on ANY of the tests, including this area that was biopsied. So, there has been no further spread! !Dr.A told us over and over how "odd" and complicated my cancer has behaved, but that these are great results!
So, where we go from here? The standard protocol would now be chemotherapy. However, we all agree that the treatments I have done so far have worked very well. Usually when the cancer spreads to the bone it is 6 mo. to a year before it spreads further to the organs. It has been just about 4 years now for me.
Because of that he is keeping me on the protocol I have been doing and sending me to my radiologist Thursday morning to have him evaluate whether or not I am able to have more radiation to this particular area. This is now the next  prayer request. We are hoping this will "shut down" this tumor along with the current meds I am on to prolong chemo, if I even choose to go that route at all.
I have, in the past responded well to radiation. Surgery is really not an option as they would have to remove the chest wall and then have skin grafts done using skin from other parts of my body. It MIGHT get it all and it might not. Dr. A does not feel it is worth the risks. I would say we agree since there is no way to know if it would even work.
Basically I am in "uncharted waters" and other than chemo being the standard protocol here everything else is an educated guess. Prayer for discernment here.
By the time I finished the PET my migraine was in full swing. I took 3 advil, imitrix nasal spray and a phenergen. I was so sick I could not eat or drink anything, including my coffee. I had to lay down in the car for about an hour and wait it out. Finally, it eased up and I was able to eat and drink. We had about a 2 hour wait from test to Dr. visit so this is how it was spent.
I felt good enough by the time we headed home to go to Yogurt story.That hit the spot:) I am tired and relieved to be done with this day. Prayerfully, I will be able to have radiation and it will "knock this one out". Then I can once again dance with Mr.NED ( No Evidence of Disease) until next time.
* Mr NED is a saying my friend Kim uses on her blog and I thought it was great! Thanks Kim!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Today & Tomorrow

Well it is 9 PM and I have made it so far with my "no caffeine, sugar or exercise for 24 hrs" regiment. I did get to have my morning coffee thanks to my son Matt who did a Starbucks run for his deperate mama :). We had run out of coffee, today of all days!
The no sugar part is the easiest of all three. I did have one group class this morning and met with a new client tonight. No exercise for me but helped keep my mind elsewhere.
Tomorrow morning concludes the testing and then we meet with Dr.A to find out ALL the results. I have had my moments of anxiety but have found keeping busy really helps a lot.
We have continued to pray that these tests do not show any further spread than what we recently found out with the skin biopsy. Or better yet that they show no spread what so ever!
Your thoughts and prayers are appreciated as we face tomorrow. The morning will be difficult after fasting beginning tonight. This, combined with the lack of caffeine triggers my migraines. Then we pray for good results and discernment.

“With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
    Matthew 19:26

                                    thank you in advance~elayne 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 3 and Muga Scan results

Today was the muga scan to check on my heart function. A few years ago after being put on a drug called Herceptin my IF ( Injection fraction) number dropped to 45 from a start of 58 before treatment ( which is considered fine). Due to the drop to 45 ( which was not ok) I had to stop the treatment on Herceptin.
This past January I was checked again and it was back up to 50, better! Today, as I laid on the table I was praying for a higher number, something over 50.
Within 30 seconds of that prayer I was told first test showed my IF # at 54! I smiled and said "Thank you Lord".
Then, the second test , as I was saying Thank you, it was 56! Inside I am smiling a big smile. Test 3...IF # 57!! One away from where I began before the treatment and damage to my heart!
This was good news today and I am very pleased with that number! Keep the prayers coming everyone!
Thank you all for allyour thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Days one and Two...

Just a note on how things are going so far. I wish I had some results to share, but I do not have them yet.
Monday was a long day with a bone scan, chest x-ray and labs. After so many years of going through these tests you get pretty good at reading the technicians expressions and knowing what "lets just take a few more pictures" means.
I think I did a pretty good job at freaking myself out trying to do just that and was sure by the end that they "saw things". After all, the girl that did my chest xray did not make eye contact with me after she "checked the films" and the one that did my bone scan said "let's just take a few closer shots here for grins". OK, I know I am reading too much into this but in my nervousness I tend to do this. So, I wait for the real answers.
As always, my hubby was by my side and we went out for lunch and walked around an outdoor shopping area while we waited for me to glow! There is a 3 hr wait for the radiation to do it's thing before the bone scan.

Day two was today with a visit to my neurologist. Filled him in on what is going on, then discussed how things are going with my headaches (HA)/migraines.
Also, I had an "episode" about 2 weeks ago with severe dizziness. He said it sounded like vertigo and was probably the onset ( an aura) for a migraine. For that, I am to let him know if it happens again. For the HA and migraines he gave me some different meds to try and said to stay on the Advil ( works well for me) for the HA.
  Tomorrow is day 3 of tests with a muga scan in the AM. Will write more when I know more. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Keeping the Peace

On Wednesday I was in the middle of teaching my group Fit class and the phone rang. I just new it was going to be the results from the biopsy. When I answered and it was the doctor, not the nurse, I knew the outcome already. He didn't have to say a thing. He continued on to tell me the results; "consistent with metastatic carcinoma". In other words, a re-occurrence of the original breast cancer.

I had no idea that a rash could be a symptom of the cancer re-occurring.When the nurse saw it, she called the Onc. right away and sent me for a biopsy a few days later. I could tell from her expression and quickly getting me in for the biopsy that something looked wrong.

A few days later, Chris went with me and we felt pretty good about things after meeting the doctor as he said "I don't think you have anything to worry about". Also, I was applying hydrocortizone and it was going away.

Needless to say we were surprised by the results. My Onc. called me about an hour later and said to keep my already scheduled scans and appointment with him as they were.
So, here we are again.
Monday~ bone scan, chest x-ray and labs
Tuesday~ Neurologist to have my check-up on the migraines
Wednesday~ Muga scan ( to check my heart)
Following Tuesday(19th)~ PET scan and meet with Onc. to go over all results and where we go from here.

So that is where things are at on the medical side.I do want to share with you that I really am doing well. Don't get me wrong, I have my moments of fear and anxiety, but I do feel a peace and a calmness.
For all of you at FBC today Coach Copeland said it perfectly.
                    ~Confidence ~Courage~ Commitment~
I am Confident that He is in control and I know He has been down this road with me many times  before.
Because of this I have Courage to face each day,these tests and what I need to do knowing~
"With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26
If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

Please join our family in prayer as we go through these next two weeks of testing, results and decisions. Specifically, we are praying that this re-occurrence is "localized" and there is no further spreading.
Thank you all in advance~elayne

Friday, July 8, 2011

Thank you!

Wow! Thank you so much for all your prayers and encouragement! I can truly feel all your love and prayers along with a great sense of peace :)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Biopsy Results

My Biopsy results came back positive. Unfortunately, I have had another re-occurrence. I will be going through 2 weeks of testing and doctors apts. beginning on Monday. When all test results are in Chris and I will discuss with my doctor what the next steps will be. We are praying that this re-occurrence is "localized" and has not spread anywhere else. Your prayers on this are much appreciated.

According to Eric Winer, MD, chief scientific advisor to Susan G Komen for the Cure®, the treatment of metastatic breast cancer has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years, and will evolve even more in the next decade. "I look forward to a time when metastatic breast cancer will be entirely manageable with well tolerated therapy. It may be quite some time before we can cure metastatic disease, but women with metastatic breast cancer can expect to live far longer and far better in the years ahead than in the past. "

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nonna's Little Liam

When you think about your Grandparents you always remember them by the fond grandparent name you called them, Grandma, Nana, Mimi, etc.I have never heard anyone refer to a grandparent by their first name, unless it was a part of the grandparent name. Therefore, I have thought long and hard about the name I would like my grandkids to call me and have chosen Nonna, which is Italian for Grandmother. So, here is a picture of Nonna's Little Liam!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Biopsy and The Gaylord Texan!

We had lunch sitting in front of this sculpture and waterfall after the biopsy.
Thank you all for the prayers! The biopsy yesterday went fine, did not hurt at all :) Doctor took 2 samples and results will take a week or more. Your continued prayers while we wait for results are appreciated :)
Many of you suggested Chris and I go have a nice lunch after the biopsy yesterday. So, we chose The Gaylord Texan. Chris had never been so I thought this would be a nice place to go. Enjoy the pics!
Our table located right above the waterfall/pond.

Had to show Chris the giant guitar train track :)

We have already decided we are taking Liam here to see the trains when he is old enough to enjoy!

The landscaping in this place, inside and out is absolutely amazing!

Ended our time there with a late' watching this waterfall :) Good time after a stressful morning :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Faslodex to Biopsy

OK, friends and family. My doctors visit yesterday did not go so well. I went in for my monthly Faslodex injection and asked the nurse to take a look at a "rash" that had developed. I thought it was from a new swim suit I wore, but it has not gone away.It is in the same area of the original cancer, which is of course quite concerning. 
My Onc. is having me have another biopsy Tuesday morning. I have been trying to hold off on this post, but Chris and I need the prayer support right now. I will post more when I know.
Thank you!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Six months at a time...

It's that time again.The next round of scans are scheduled. Although they are still 3 weeks away it feels so very close. This time, before the tests, is always difficult as the anxiety begins to grow. Never knowing what to expect or how your life may change in a day. The hope, as it always has been is in the Lord and we ask for your prayer support over these next few weeks and through the testing.

The tests will be as follows;
July 11~ bone scan, labs and chest x-ray
July 13~ muga scan
July 19~ PET scan and visit with my oncologist to go over all test results

I had been feeling really good over the past 6 months. However, the past three weeks have been challenging. Starting with a sore throat, fever, terrible body aches, dizziness and nausea. A trip to Care Now showed no infection, but fluid on my ears.They put on an antibiotic just in case.

I have now learned that Augmentin is a dug I will never take again. On to two weeks of stomach issues resulting in my Onc. taking me off my Tykerb to give my stomach some relief. Not quite there yet.

Next side effects, the body aches and fever come back and an infection leading to pelvic pain and more medication. know what happens now...yup, a 16 hour long migraine! And nope, the Imitrix nasal spray does not work for me. Phone call to my neurologist, told to take phenergin right away to prevent vomiting and back on to 3 Advil every 3-4 hours for two more days.

As of today, I am feeling better energy wise, still having headaches but not another migraine. Stomach not quite back to normal, but seems to be getting better. My doctors know what is going on and I will be relieved to get past this six months and on to the next six months at a time!

Thank you in advance for your thoughts and prayers~elayne

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Alice's Bucket List

Today I ran into a very special blog written by a 15 year old girl, Alice. This young lady is wise beyond her years and is also living with a terminal cancer.Her mum suggested she write down a "wish list" or "Bucket list" on her blog to share with family and friends. Well, it has reached far beyond her inner circle and is touching many lives all over the world. To read her story click on her link.

Her blog and "bucket list" made me question a few things as I have had mixed emotions in this area.

1) If and when creating a bucket list is right for a person facing a terminal disease?
2) If you do create this list, should you share it?
3) Is it a sign of giving up, or acceptance of the possible inevitable?
4) Should everyone create their own "bucket list" as none of us know what tomorrow will bring?

I think in my own silent way I have been chipping away at this list, I have simply called it a "goals" list. Not because I have felt a need to do as much as possible in preparation for an end, but more out of wanting to live my life to the very fullest I possibly can. No matter how long or short the time I have is. After all, do any of us really know when God will call us home and have we done what He called us here to do?

Friday, June 10, 2011

27 Years with my Husband & Best Friend!

Today Chris and I celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary! What a journey this has been. Starting out not much older than kids ourselves. Raising our 3 sons together, welcoming our daughters (in-law) into our little family and now anxiously awaiting our first Grandson, Liam James.
 We have been through a lot for a couple and a family over these last 13 years. However I can't imagine us being any closer than we all are. At just 32 years old, I first found a lump, 34 when it was finally diagnosed as Stage 3 breast cancer, 43 when it returned as Stage 4 Mets. and now I am getting ready to turn 47. A long journey for all of us.
My husband and I prayed all the time that we would live to be grandparents together. We have big plans for them, most of which include the lake!
Now that time has gone by so quickly and we find ourselves entering this new place in life and in our relationship we now pray to be Great-Grandparents together.
My husband has been my best friend, my partner in crime with all the adventures we love to take and the man that has stood by me and taken such good care of me through so much. I am very much still in love with my hubby!
                                      Happy Anniversary Chris
27 YEARS!!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Teaching & Training

I love this time of year! My schedule gets very busy but I like it that way. I have started my "Little Swimmers" swim lessons again this year and am having a ball with them! The change to teaching kids and getting in the pools is always fun and welcome. Here is a slide-show of many of them.
Click link and scroll down.

I train a wonderful group of Ladies in my "Group Fitness" classes and Personal Training. They work hard and are some tough women! Most of the classes are held outdoors, however we have been hit with extremely hot weather early in the season so we have all opted to move indoors to my home gym...much better! If you would like to see some of the fun things we do in our classes click link and scroll down to slide-show.

And Finally, we are about half way through the evening 5k Run class. I have to admit, I am kind of dreading running in this heat tonight but....I guess I have to go as I am the teacher :) My husband Chris has been coming out and running with the group. He is one of my "subs" and has been co-teaching with me. Last week I was sick with a sore throat, nausea and dizziness. Went to the Dr. to be sure I was ok. Just had a lot of fluid built up in my ears and sinus.
I love what I do and Thank God everyday for the people he puts in my life and the ability to continue on!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Garden Days

We have gone very quickly from Spring to Summer here. Everyone is taking cover indoors with the AC or at the lake and pools!
Early spring, Chris and I were able to get my garden planted and it has done very well so far! This is my 4th year trying to have a green thumb in the garden and I had been getting very discouraged with the amount of work vs. yield from the garden in the past. I enjoy planting, caring for and most of all, getting to eat the herbs and veggies that I know are free of harmful pesticides and sprays for my health as well as for my family.
We decided to give it one more season, asked lots of people what they do, and it all came down to manure and humus. We added both of these to the organic soil and.... success!
Onions, on the right, were harvested today. Lots of red onions now!
The Harvest!

He's not real, BUT..we do have a bunny that lives in the backyard. Chris wants to shoot him,I won't let him :)

Lots of tomatoes ripening, almost ready!

Rosemary, mint, basil, thyme,parsley,lemon balm for herbs this year!

The squash and zucchini plants are huge and producing lots!


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