Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Day Has Come

The view from the windows in my hospital room creates a desire to rejoin the world. I see traffic flowing out on the freeway near the hospital and recognize that the world continues to go on...I want to be a part of it. That would lead me to believe I am feeling better and recovering!

I have had a very healthy day today. I am tolerating food, napping peacefully and feeling so much better than I had been. If what I have been experiencing today continues until tomorrow morning I will be given my pass to escape. Yipee!!!!

I never would have imagined that when I arrived in the emergency room Monday afternoon that I would still be here today. Of course, at that point, I didn't know if I would make it out of the emergency room alive. Quite frankly, I was about as scared as I have ever been. At the time I thought I was being redirected on a long detour in my road in life. I now recognize it is was just another bump in the road. It has been a reminder to to live life presently and not be so concerned about what the future holds.

Set me free....I am ready to experience the joy of unwrapping multi-colored bows of each day.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Calling Fairview Home

Dr. Rousey was just in and advised that I will continue to be at Fairview Southdale until at least Friday.

The concern is keeping the potassium pumping as my trips to the bathroom really haven't reduced in number. He advised that it will take about 7 - 10 days for my raw digestive tract to heal itself. Basically, he said the body recovers quickly, considering, but not quick enough when one wants to break out of the confines of a hospital.

I am finding that I am more tired today and my body is feeling exhausted in a different way. Now that I am able to take a few deep breaths, I think the stress of the past few days is catching up with me and I just want to sleep...sleep...sleep.

They moved me to a new room last night. It's like a penthouse suite compared to my initial quarters. I have two windows now and a full private bath! I'm moving up in the world.

There are many wonderful people praying for my complete healing. I am humbled and grateful.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hospital Update

Evidently I'm as sick as I thought I was. Yes....physically.

Dr. Grothey (Mayo) and Dr. Rousey (local) have agreed they want to keep me in the hospital for a longer period of time. Their theory yesterday was 'let's keep her overnight just to appease her'. they are recognizing that I am one sick and uncomfortable patient.

They can't give me a specific length of stay. Just until they get 'things' under control. Until then I will continue to be pumped with gigantor bags of potassium and other drugs to keep trips to the bathroom to a minimum.

Thank you for all of your prayers and positive intentions. I know how powerful your thoughts are and I really do appreciate it.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Ride Continues

Did I say something about having to jump back on the roller coaster? We have been on the ride for a week now and it hasn't slowed down.

I am in the hospital. There have been complications from my last treatment. Evidently my body could not tolerate the Irinotecan/Erbitux combination.

One always expects side effects from treatment. The scary part about experiencing a new treatment is that you don't know what to expect. It's a given that you will have a few down days. You then bounce back and are thankful those days are in the past. That didn't happen this time. Instead of getting better, my body seemed to be getting more worn and tired.

One of the side effects this treatment alerted me to from the beginning was diarrhea. I prepared myself for that. Just the opposite occurred for me...but I won't get into those details. It's what happened this morning that scared the...well, you know....out of me.

A few days late, but I did experience the expected side effect. Unfortunately, it included bloody body tissue as well. (Ewwwww....I know!) That would be parts of my intestinal tract sitting in my toilet. This is not good....not good at all.

I took it on a good friends advice to get a ride in the back of an ambulance to the emergency room. The emergency room confirmed my fears. My insides are torn up from treatment.

Quite frankly I am very scared. My body has been compromised. I am physically weak. I have no idea how long it will take to repair my torn body and bring myself back to healthy levels. I am dehydrated and hooked up to IV's right now. Evidently my potassium levels are cranky.

Dick left for California this morning not knowing what the day would bring. Eileen has been such a trooper. She has been at my side this entire day. I love her dearly. I just wish she didn't have to grow up so fast.

More updates tomorrow. Let's pray for better news.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Back On The Roller Coaster

Group hug please!!!

It has been a rather difficult morning. We met with Dr. Grothey and he presented results from my CT scan of Friday. I wish I had good news to deliver...but I'll just give the details.

As you know, there are several tumors in my right lung. There is one tumor specifically that Dr. Grothey has been keeping a diligent eye on. That tumor has grown by about a third since my last scan six weeks ago. The other tumors are about the same size as previous scans. Dr. Grothey is very concerned about the rate of growth and the size of the one specific tumor.

The good news is that these nasty cells have not spread to my bones or liver. It's quite amazing the detail the CT's provide. Sigh of relief there. Thank you, Lord.

My treatment regimen is once again changing. Today I will begin infusion of Irinotecan (CPT-11, Camptosar) and Erbitux. Yes, that nuisance of a rash from the Erbitux will be returning. I guess that's the least of my problems at this point. I don't know anything about the Irinotecan....thus more reading and self education on my part.

As Dr. Grothey explained, once again, what I have is so rare that there is not a tried and true treatment. He feels the Irinotecan/Erbitux is very synergistic. In his words, it's like 1 + 1 = 5. Hey baby, I could use all of the synergy the universe wants to send my way right now.

I have done a fair amount of crying this morning. The news is quite a blow as I had been feeling so positive. The nurses here at Mayo are amazing and have been so supportive and understanding.

Dick could really use a hug as well. He joined me this morning, thank goodness. I think I would have found a hole to hide within the walls of this large campus. He is a bit dazed himself right now but is finding the strength to provide a positive attitude and solace.

Ah yes...the comfort we were experiencing has ceased. We have now jumped back on the roller coaster.

My love to you all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Welcome Back Old Waistline

Swimsuit season is fast approaching. The pH Miracle way of eating is certainly assisting in any desire I might have to wear a swimsuit comfortably and without internal bad talk. (ladies, you know what I mean)

I've been working so hard at alkalizing, it seems it is all I think about. Could it be that I am constantly hungry and craving chocolate or something as simple as a comforting cup of joe? My breakfast this morning consisted of homemade guacamole with a sprouted whole wheat tortilla that I cut up and made into chips. Better than the green vegetable concoction I'm supposed to be downing every morning. When I go to 'drink' my throat almost closes up in revolt.

Okay...okay, all kidding aside. All of my hard work is showing a waistline I never thought I would see again...but, I am still not alkalized! Evidently I need to take the next big step and do a complete cleanse. (Too much information?) This frightens me, as my body is already weak from chemo treatments. I really hesitate to put my body through more trauma. I may have to write Dr. Young directly and ask him for safe suggestions. I never knew this would be so daunting. One must keep the goal of long term survival in mind. It's amazing what you can do with a little motivation.

Our household is on pins and needles this week. I have my next CT scan scheduled for this Friday at Mayo. Dick and I will return to Mayo again on Monday to meet with Dr. Grothey with the hope that he will have diagnostic results. I also have my next treatment scheduled for Monday. I feel very good about my scans and am really not carrying concern. Your prayers and support continue to lift me. Thank you!

I will be returning to Mayo again on the 26th, as I have been invited to join the Executive Director of Get Your Rear In Gear!, a local organization supporting colorectal cancer research and awareness. She has asked that I present the world-renowned researchers with my personal story and put a human face in front of the very people that provide life saving research. I am really looking forward to that opportunity.

My Qigong sessions have been going very well. Through Qigong I am learning to meditate and focus on my complete healing. I attended my most recent session this past Monday. I voiced a concern of extreme mid/upper back pain, which is very unusual for me. My concern was returned with a smile. Evidently my daily meditation and exercises have been moving old and stagnant energy out of my lung area. Master Lin informed me this is a very good thing and advised that health is returning to my body. Qigong is some pretty cool stuff. I highly recommend it...even if you are healthy.

Other than having the winter blues, I am doing very well. This next month or so will find me in Charleston, SC, Sacramento and Cabo San Lucas...thank goodness! I know I am blessed to have these travel opportunities. Maybe God knows I can handle chemo better than the cold of a Minnesota winter.

I need to go eat something. Hmmmmm.....I wonder if I can figure out how to make creme brulee' out of tofu?

Friday, February 1, 2008

Mental Recovery

I have recovered from my less light day of yesterday.

After going back to my post, I could see how my communication of crying about food could be misunderstood and I feel I need to explain.

My initial frustration came to light when I realized that the focus required to incorporate these new recipes into my life would be difficult to create physically and mentally. You know how it have your top 10 recipes that you know and fall back on when you really don't want to think hard about what to serve. Simply put, my chemo brain does not allow me to think very hard about anything. I find it terribly hard to focus. New things are overwhelming...not fun like they once were. Thus, the initial mental crack.

All I really want to do is provide enjoyment to friends and family. Provide Dick & Eileen the comfort of a home cooked meal to come home to. Entertain with friends and serve delicious cuisine in the comfort of their homes. So, it really doesn't come down to the food. The real story is my acknowledgment that I am not the person I once was and I am not able provide 'my' gift.

I think what put me over the edge yesterday was a woman eavesdropping on my conversation with the store clerk. She heard me explain to the clerk that I was practicing Qigong ( This woman came out of left field and basically told me I was dancing with the devil because of my meditation and movement of energy. She explained to me that as a Christian, we should never 'dabble' with our energy, as that is completely against Christian belief. She basically told me if I continue to practice Qigong, I am allowing the devil into my temple.'s not food, okay? It's the fact that my body hurts more with each chemotherapy treatment. My brain is turning to mush. The pleasure that I derived from providing appealing and delicious nourishment to friends and family is basically ending. Oh...and I guess I'm becoming a devil worshiper if I choose to continue to practice Eastern medicine.

Some days it all gets to be too much. Yesterday was one of those days. Today I recognize my frustration and now I can learn from it and move on to more positive things...learning new ways to enjoy life.