Sunday, January 30, 2011

Making friends with Chemo

Hi to Kristi's fans,  this is Mom.  If you aren't yet a fan, you should be.  Kristi is a young woman who is making the very best of a bend in the road of life that most of us would not want to travel. She makes you think cancer is not so bad.  She is strong in her faith and in tenacity to overcome.  In Robert Frost's poem he suggested to take the road less traveled by and that makes all the difference.  I hope that was the author.  It's been a long time since I studied that.  Well "the difference" you suspect would be a good thing.  But cancer is the road less traveled by and you don't get to make the choice.  I am sure anyone who gets to hear the words,  I am sorry but IT is cancer,  is shocked.  Even if they were close to expecting it themselves you still think there must be someway to avoid the usual treatment.  And some do, but not Kristi.  She got it all.  I hate chemo. It is a poisen really.  Her Dad and I sat with her for 6 hours on Friday as they slowly dripped 5 different bags of fluids into her.  It didn't come easy either.  She endured 4 sticks before they found a vein that would allow this to all work.  She had been stuck 4 times the day before in order to get a good vein for fluids because it turns out she was severly dehydrated.  I had to make friends with chemo.  If my child is doing it I am going to do it with her.  There were 25 people sitting around the outside of a very large room in recliners with their IV bags on a stand by them and a chair or two for a friend or family member next to them.  They were people from every walk of life and in different stages of treatment.  The room was cheerful and painted yellow and they had warmed soft tuzzy blankets in "the freezer".  That's what it looked like so we laughed about getting the warm blanket out of the freezer.  It was really a warmer with a large stainless steel door.  There was hot tea, graham crackers and saltine and p-nut butter crackers and cokes and a water cooler and friendly people experiencing the same thing you were.  The nurses were stationed in the middle of the big room.  They were outgoing and friendly.  Your neighbors in the next chair were friendly.  It wasn't so bad and they have ways of calming some of the side effects and we thank God for the people that researched and invented that.        Now about Kristi herself.  She is strong and has a big God.  Yes!  Also her big God and her doctors are helping her through this.  She is MUCH MUCH BETTER THIS WEEKEND.  They gave her fluids the day before chemo.  She got more fluids on Friday before chemo and another bag after the chemo and went back the next day for more antinausea IV fluid and just magnesium, postassium water through the IV and Praise God they got the vein the first time on Sat.  She is able to take a half pill of the antinausea meds at a time this weekend and this helps her to be awake much more.  Today was Alyssa's 5th birthday and everyone pulled together to make her a wonderful birthday and we had a nice dinner and opened gifts and Kristi didn't have to miss any of it and even felt like having tea with friends after the party( at her own house).  She's still up as I write. Praise God for his unspeakable gifts.  She had a good day.  Yesterday she was tired and had some unusual pains and rested some but even rode over to a park in the car and sat on a bench and watched the children (mine and theirs) play.  I have a better feeling as I go home about chemo.  It is necessary and can be done and I don't hate it like I did.  I asked the nurse what was in the bag of chemo and she told me Kristi's was metal...some is a bark and some is made from a certain mud.  Good grief.  Who ever thought that up??  Thank you God for Doctors and nurses and radiologists and physicists and scientists that HE uses to help the people we love.  They have put in a lot of time and years to be there for us.  And the need is great.  When you walk through a storm hold your head up high.  There is a dawning of a new day coming... That's the way Kristi is looking at this and after all her middle name is DAWN, like the beginning of a beautiful new day with all the potential of being a great day.  And Remember You Never Walk Alone.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Chemo Day 2, Radiation day 12

Hi everyone  I'm sorry I haven't updated since last week.  It has been an extremely hard week as the reality of this treatment and this illness have settled in.  I truly expected that I would feel bad for a couple days and then get on with my life, but this has been far from the case.  I've slept most of my life away in the last week outside of daily radiation appointments, appointments with the rad-onc and the med-onc and a trip to get extra fluids through an IV yesterday.  (pic below)

I've been trying to work as well, but have been feeling so fatigued, mentally confused, nauseated, upset stomach, unable to eat or drink well and with headache.  My anti nausea meds cause me to sleep right away and they give me a severe headache, so I'm not a big fan of taking them.  However, as the nurse said before their purpose is to make me feel better than I would have without them.  This seems discouraging because I can't imagine how badly I'd feel without modern medicine. 

In meeting with the med-onc (chemo doctor) he said that my symptoms are normal for this chemo.  I shared how I see people double my age who seem to be bouncing back much better than I and his comment was, "They are not taking Cisplatin chemotherapy".  He said again that this is the chemo that gave chemotherapy a bad name in the 70's and 80's, but it is the best choice for my cancer and how it works with my radiation plan.  He mentioned that they sometimes spread this type of chemo out and give it only once every 3 weeks to make it easier, but not when given with daily radiation like I'm having.  I sure wish I had 2 more weeks before I go back in, but unfortunately I go back in this afternoon. 

On top of chemo the side effects of radiation are also kicking in and those can cause nausea, fatigue, diarrhea, skin irritation, bladder irritation, etc. 

My sweet children are realizing that this is hard on mommy and it is hard on them having a mommy in bed all the time.  Please pray for them as they manage their own thoughts and emotions.  Isaiah says he is okay and he doesn't need to talk about it, but Alyssa has cried more often than not lately.  She has climbed into bed with me begging me to stop going to the doctor and asking if I'll ever be well again.  It is heart wrenching, but I know that all this is so that I can spend many more good years with them and I'm focusing on that right now.

Pray today:
  • That all goes smoothly with the I.V. as we've had some trouble lately and I was pricked 3 times just yesterday already. 
  • There are no severe reactions to the chemotherapy.  They will not give me another diuretic today, but just extra fluids to help my kidneys. 
  • My parents are going with me today.  Pray for their own strength as they watch their middle child do this.  I know it is not easy for my supporters either. 
Thank you for your prayers, your meals, your generosity to my family and I.  We've been sincerely blessed by many this week and I know that Billy, and my sister, Katy, who's living with us, deeply appreciated the help.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Care Calendar Thanks

There are times in one's life that make you question if you do a good job loving others.  In church last week we studied John 15.  A couple things really stood out to me.

1)  The world "believe" is mentioned in the book of John 88 times.    That is a lot for one book and it made me ask myself if I really believe as I should? 

2) Verse 12 is the commandment that says we should love others as Christ loves us.  I wonder if I do this as well as I should and I'm blown away by how others unexpectedly love us in this way. 

This brings me to the Care Calendar that my sister Danina set up and many of you locally have already received in an e-mail from my sister Amy.  What a humbling shower of love to see so many sign up in the first few hours to help right away.  We had an amazing dinner brought over the very first night the calendar was published!

I have posted the link and the ID/Code to the right of this blog for your convenience and I want to say thank you.  Thanks you for loving my family and I the way you've been called to in Matthew 15:12 and thank you for strengthening my belief as I experience your kindness.
ID 62990
CODE 1273

Just Adding to Billy's Note - Chemo Day 1

I'm so thankful that Billy was able to update all of you while I was sleeping off my benedryl and morphine yesterday.  I told him that I felt like I was on a "trip".  My limbs felt very light and I kept telling him not to let me do something embarrassing and silly like start raising my arms and legs in the air because I actually did feel like they might float away...and my mom can testify I've done this a couple times before.  I'm very sensitive to these type of drugs.  One summer when I was in high school my dad got my siblings and I a summer job of painting the public library and fairfield center apartments. I was terribly allergic spending all that time outside in the trees and grass and took a benedryl one day over lunch.  Soon I was found just laying on the sidewalk taking a nap.  Now, we all know we have reputations to uphold in high school and I'm pretty sure sleeping on a downtown sidewalk was not on my list of to-do's, but benedryl just knocks me out.  Last night I came home and never left my bed until just a few minutes ago (5:30 am).  I woke this morning feeling pretty good.  A little shaky, but I think that is still the after effects of the morphine too as I've been on that before.  I have my hot packs on my shoulders and back because I laid around too long yesterday and I think I must have been clenching my teeth as my jaw hurts as well.  I tend to have that problem and should have worn my mouthpiece the dentist gave me.  Anyway, enough about that.

I awoke planning to call and reschedule right away at 8:00, but got the answering service saying the offices weren't opening until 9:00 due to inclement weather.  I called again at 9:00 and 9:20 leaving messages for the person who does rescheduling.  At 9:30 I got on a call with my new boss and while I was on the phone it continued to beep with numbers I didn't recognize.  At 10:40 I called them back and they said they needed me to come in ASAP to get my radiation treatment first and then my chemotherapy.  I called my friend Sara to see if she would watch my kiddos and thankfully she said yes right away.  We packed up all the kids snow clothes so they could play outside and got ourselves ready and off we went.  Another "no time to think about it" moment! 

We arrived at the radiology office to find out that even though I only had 30 minutes to spare before chemo should start (according to the nurse) the rapid arc radiation machine was broken down and they had a technician looking at it.  We were going to wait until 1:00 pm, but the tech finally came out and said they had no idea what was wrong with the machine yet and I better go on to chemo and they'd stay late to see me afterwards.  They later called again and said it still wasn't fixed and they'd just see me Monday.  Two radiation treatments missed this week.  I walked over to the chemo office and checked in.  They had me waiting in the lobby for about an hour because all their nurses didn't come to work because of inclement weather, so they were behind.  Darn weather!!!!  I chose a chair at the far end of the room where I could see a visitor chair open right next to me.  I had used an itunese  gift card to download a movie for Billy and I.  They brought me a heated blanket and I sat in a large comfy recliner.  A student massage therapist came by and gave me a hand massage while I waited for the nurse and the receptionist came by with cinnamon sticks from the local pizza joint.  I looked around at the cheery yellow room with windows solid down 2 sides and bright white snowflakes dangling from the ceiling and though to myself this wasn't starting out as bad as I thought. 

The nurse put my IV in and gave me an intravenous dose of anti nausea medicine, then dripped a large amount of fluid into my system.  Billy and I visited with a nice woman my age getting chemo for breast cancer during this time. This took a couple of hours and I unplugged my I.V. to walk all the way to the other end of the room pushing my fluids along to use the restroom.  The nurse told me I might want to sit close to a restroom, but I couldn't find a good spot for Billy to sit down there and I wanted him right by me. 
Billy and I were getting settled in to watch our movie when the nurse came and gave me the diuretic medicine and said it was to push the fluids through with the chemo to spare my kidneys.  Then she started the actual chemo treatment and said it would take and hour and then we'd be done.  Within 1 minute my stomach began to feel immense pressure and then my lower back was hurting and got worse by the second.  I felt like my kidneys were going to blow up and shoot right out of my back.  It was taking my breath away and Billy realized he should get the nurse.  I kept wondering if it was the diuretic and I was just going to have to make another quick trip to the other end of the room. But the nurse ran to me with her eyes wide asking, "You're having back pain?".  She turned and told another nurse, who told another nurse.  It got very hectic with one nurse taking vitals and calling out numbers that were confirmed much higher than my normal.  My blood pressure was 148 over 98 and I typically run very low like 108 over 65ish.  My heart rate was about 99 and I usually run below 70.  My temp was up 2  points since they had taken it upon arrival.  A lady doctor showed up to oversee as they put something in to reverse the effects of the medicine and gave me some benedryl.  I was perched on the side of my seat gripping the arms of the chair while those in the room all watched.  A nurse had gone to get morphine and we were waiting as my diuretic kicked in and I asked to be escorted to the the far end of the room again.  I tried to go but my 9 our of 10 pain turned into about a 15 so I came out knowing they were bringing morphine.  They put the morphine in and said it would help in about 2 minutes and thankfully it did.  I went back to the bathroom from my new seat about 8 feet away.  We stayed in this chair as I continued to have to pass the diuretic through at what felt like every 5 minutes for an hour.  I gave a urine sample, which showed a little blood but no bacteria or anything.  The nurses knew of another patient with my kind of chemo that could not handle the lassic diuretic and because I had no other issues they were told by the doctor to start the chemo drip very slowly again and monitor me closely.  I slept through it except when they came to check on me and make me wake up and attempt to speak while I was on my morphine trip!  I felt like I was making no sense, but Billy and the nurse were kind enough to not laugh.  I did laugh though as I kept looking at them with only one eye open and thought of my mom who does that when she's very tired.  I kept looking at Billy with just one eye open and saying, "who does this remind you of?".  He wasn't getting it, but my siblings would have.  It was silly, but I was so tired that was all I could accomplish. 

Last night I watched two movies in bed, took naps along the way, ate some soup and saltines in bed and forced about 50 oz of water down, which still left my eyes and mouth and throat feeling dry.  Partially because of the benedryl and partially because of the chemo killing off cells in my body.  We learned yesterday that outside of cancer rapidly growing cells, our bone marrow and GI tract rapidly grow cells as well.  Therefore, some of my side effects as the chemo kills off cells will be anemia because the bone marrow is producing as fast as it should and also my mouth and throat could get ulcers easily because the GI tract isn't producing as fast as it should.  I'm learning so much about myself!!!

Billy was fantastic yesterday and our friends Steve and Sara were wonderful to keep our kids overnight so we could have a very peaceful house last night and this morning.  Thank you so much to all of you for your support and prayers. 

Chemo treatment # 1 is over. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

First Day of Chemo

Hi all this is Billy!  Today was a really long and hard day!  Kristi started her Chemo treatment today around 1:30 and we left around 6:00.  Kristi had a severe pain reaction when they gave her diuretics called lassic and Chemo.  A few minutes after those two things were going into her body she had severe pain in her lower back around the kidney area.  I went to get the nurse and told her what was going on and she ran to Kristi, and suddenly there were over five nurses doing different things.  It was a tense moment and I felt so hopeless for her.  Her vitals were really high for her and they quickly gave her Benadryl and Morphine.  They put something else through her I.V. to reverse the effects of the chemotherapy. A few minutes later her pain went away and her vitals stabilized to a more normal level.  They were not sure which one of the drugs caused it but they seemed to lean towards the diuretics. Everything settled down around an hour later so they slowly moved forward with her treatment.  Kristi is really tired and worn out but she seems to be fine.  Please pray for Gods protection and direction as we continue down this hard road.  I am thankful that God protected her today and that the reaction went away.  I know that all I could do was pray today for her, just as many of you did!  I know that this journey has really hit me more this week as we are continuing to move forward with all of this!  It is really hard when you see your soul mate have to do something like this and I wish I could be the one doing it.  My words cannot express my gratitude to those who are supporting us and going down this journey with us.  I am very humbled and thankful for everything that people are doing to love on us during this time.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow Day

So instead of chemo and radiation today I get a beautiful blanket of snow to enjoy out my window and keep me inside.  A couple inches of snow completely shuts down this town so I got a call at 6:45 am from radiation and another call at 9:00 from the chemo office saying I need to call in the morning to reschedule. 

I'll update again when I know more.  :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Many have asked about my chemo treatment plan so I wanted to make a post with what I learned today.

I am having a type of chemo called Cisplatin.  The purpose of this treatment is to slow or stop the growth of cancer cells in my body, which allows the radiation to work better.  Cisplatin is given through an IV with a lot of fluids and medication.  The fluids and medication are administered slowly over 3 - 4 hours to help protect my kidneys as much as possible and to minimize initial side effects.  I will also be sent home with three oral medications that are all for nausea and vomiting.  My nurse said these medications will not alleviate all side effects, but will make me feel much better than I would without them.  I'm not sure how comforting that is, but time will tell.  The side effects of this type of chemo are not delayed and are expected to show their ugly head within the first 24 hours post treatment. 

Common side effects are:
Severe nausea and vomiting
Low blood counts
Gradual hair loss
Severe diarrhea
Loss of appetite - foods may have a metallic taste

Less common side effects are:
Numbness or tingling in the fingers or toes
Ringing in the ears
Burning when urinating
Joint pain

Here is a link if you are someone that wants to more details.

People using the drugs found in Cisplatin are particularly susceptible to certain infections, including infections by microorganisms that do not often infect people with a normal immune system.  Radiation also weakens the immune system so we are trying to be very careful not to expose ourselves to illness. 

This all sounds so enjoyable doesn't it?  Honestly, I know that I won't feel well, but at the same time I am very focused on the other side of this.  Being well again and having the energy and strength I need to play with my kids and make many more memories with family and friends.  I know there are lessons to be learned in this journey and I'm documenting as many as I can so I don't miss the purpose in the midst of the hardship.

So many of you are good to share words of encouragement with me each week and I hope to pass a few of these on for others needing a pick me up. 

Psalms 94:19 "When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer."

Psalm 77:14 "You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples."

Matthew 4:23  "Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people."

Day 7

Today marked my 7th radiation treatment and was by far the most frustrating of days, even though I'm feeling pretty good.

The first treatment took a bit longer than normal as they worked to get my positioning  just right and the marks on my body re-done to accurately reflect my final treatment plan. My doctor, a physics teams and a dosimetry team all worked together to design a 3-D radiation plan that allows stronger doses of radiation to some parts and lower doses to others.  This machine will spare as much of my healthy tissue and healthy organs as possible and still reach the cancer and other high threat areas, such as the lymph nodes in my upper legs ands the rectal area. The radiation is called Rapidarc.  We will drive about 45 minutes each way every week day to be able to utilize this machine, but we are happy to do it if it will be the best plan for me short and long term.

Last week I was juggling a lot of hours at work and in the middle of having my first four treatments I had management in town to transition from an old boss to a new boss, hire a new employee and have an important buyer meeting.  I found that I was on the phone for work right up until I walked into treatment and afterwards I was back at the office until 7:30 pm two nights in a row.  It felt surreal as I had to stop a buyer presentation to excuse myself and hand the rest of the meeting over to my VPs so I could race to my 2nd day of treatment.  In some ways busyness can be a curse, but in others it is a blessing.  I frankly had no time to think about what I was going through as it was just the next thing on my calendar. It helped me get through those first days, but by day three I was in bed at 6:30 pm and didn't awake until my alarm at 6:30 the next morning. 

Symptoms were present last week, but minimal.  The doctor said many people smell something with radiation, but I tasted it as a metal-like flavor.  Quickly after the taste would come I would feel nauseated or have stomach discomfort.  Friday night and Saturday I was sick for about 2 1/2 hours after a meal, but by Sunday afternoon and Monday morning I was back to myself.  It was a great feeling and this week I've done very well with treatment and not been as fatigued. 

So, why was today frustrating?  Well, I had an appointment for radiation at 12:30 and at 1:20 they told me to go on to my chemo appt and come back.  Billy and I sat in the chemo office for 2 hours to see the doctor for 10 minutes and have a 10 minute chemo orientation.  Then it was back to the radiation office where we finally were finished by 4:45.  A long day and it seemed we didn't accomplish too much.  We did learn that we will always take a book or download a movie before we go to any appointment.  Today should have been the quickest day and lasted for over four hours. 

Tomorrow I am to have radiation at 10:15am and then have my first chemo treatment at 12:00 pm.  The chemo treatment should be about 4 hours if all goes well.  I'm counting on it!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Radiation Begins

My first day of treatment felt stressful.  We woke up to snow and ice and the schools being closed for the day due to unsafe roads.  I had just found out that I was getting yet another new boss and he and my current boss were both arriving on the 10:30 am flight so we could transition the team and prepare for a meeting with my buyer. 

Billy and I left at 8:15 to drop the kid's off at our nanny's house so we could slowly drive to our 9:45 am appointment. We made it with not a minute to spare, but the drive was an emotional one for me.  I began it in a rush; the kind of rush that makes you tackle the next thing with no time to think about it.  Jumping in the car with my purple fuzzy socks hidden under my warm black boots my husband grabbed my hand and started down the slippy road.  My phone began to alert me over and over that I had a text.  There were texts from friends and family and co-workers.  I visited my facebook app where I found many comments and messages with encouragement and promises to wear my color of hope and victory...purple.  I began to ponder what was to come for this one particular treatment, but also the many more to come.  It felt overwhelming to fit this into my life, but also scary because it was uncharted territory.

Once inside the office, I signed my name on the registry and made my way to the restroom.  I looked at my face in the mirror wondering at the uneasiness that I felt.  I'm the kind of person that doesn't get overly anxious over things so I was surprised I couldn't make myself relax.  As I began to give myself a pep talk I just began to smile as an old song from childhood clearly came to mind. 

"Put your hand in the hand of the man who stilled the water
Put your hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea
Take a look at yourself and-a you can look at others differently
By puttin' your hand in the hand of the man from Galilee"

My name was called and I alone walked through the door to find a cubby with my last name written neatly underneath.  In the cubby is a thin cotton robe, which will be my dress code for treatment. 

Wearing my now exposed purple fuzzy socks I met my techs, Melissa and Amy, and as they worked to get my positioning just right and the marks on my body re-done I remembered so many that were praying my verse and I put my hand in the hand of the man who calmed the sea.

One hour later treatment #1 was complete.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Well, its "Go" time....Finally and Already

Everyone has that event or occasion in their life that they are so anxious for; counting down the number of days until it's finally time.  Then, on the other hand when it arrives you aren't quite ready; thinking of all the things you still need to accomplish or prepare first.  This makes me think of Christmas.  There is so much hype getting in the spirit, shopping, wrapping, baking, decorating and you can't wait for the time with family and then suddenly you realize its time and the stress settles in because you still have a list of to do's and company is about to arrive.  This was my Christmas this year anyway and it feels a bit the same when I think of my upcoming treatment. 

Last week I realized the doctors weren't ready to begin treatment and I felt annoyed because I'm ready.  I want it to be "time".  I want to get started and see God's goodness through it all.  I want to be on the other side of this celebrating life with my friends and family.  Tuesday I went in again, thinking they'd tell me it is finally time, but instead they said probably Thursday.  I was frustrated, asking myself why this is taking so long.  I told the nurse I'd been wearing my "marks" and "tape" for 17 days and they said it would only take 14.  She smiled, of course, and explained again what a process it is to plan radiation.

Today I had still heard nothing by 9:45 am so I called.  They said they still aren't ready and maybe it would be Tuesday next week.  The physics and dosimetry teams were building two plans on two different machines for the doctor to review. They wanted to make sure they could successfully treat the cancer and threatened areas and still safe as much healthy tissue and organs as possible.  On one hand I was relieved because my list of to-do's was way too long to fit an appointment in, but on the other hand I was irritated and impatient.  When I realize it has been 2 full months on Sunday since my first surgery it feels like they are being very slow about this. However, as my dad reminded me today, we have prayed that God would lead the doctors and that He would intercede on my behalf to get the very best treatment with the least possible short and long term side effects.  I believe that my doctors are doing their job to ensure that this is the best scenario for me and so I come back full circle to peace and thankfulness. 

Late this afternoon I received the call.  My mind has mixed emotions;  Whew, finally!...and...Oh my word, already? 

I opened my little desk bible this afternoon and right away I saw this verse..."She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." (Prov 31:25)  What a privilege to have a God that speaks directly to our hearts in a very personal way.  As humbling as it may be to share these specifics, I will, because you and I both need to know that God knows our innermost hopes and fears and if we spend time with Him we'll hear Him.  One of the biggest concerns about my specific radiation plan is that I don't get to be clothed and laying in a comfortable position during treatment. I will feel small, vulnerable; like a child with no voice. There is no part of this that feels dignified or funny.  But you know what?  God tells me that I won't be clothed in cotton or cashmere, but I will be clothed in strength and dignity.   My life mission is that I can laugh at myself and find joy in all things.  God tells me that I will laugh at the days to come.  My joy will not be zapped by this hard season of life.  I ask that you my friends and family will pray this verse for me on Tuesday, 1/11 at 9:45 when I have my first radiation appointment.

After this first appointment, I will have a standing appointment every week day at 3:45 pm for radiation.  I will see the radiation doctor every Monday following my treatment.  I should hear from the chemo doctor (Med-Onc) tomorrow to get that appointment scheduled for next week as well.

Thank you again for everyone's prayers, cards, e-mails, texts, facebook messages, blog messages, etc.  It is more encouraging than you know to hear from you.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Overdue Update

Since my last post, which I admit was way too long ago, I've walked through the widest array of emotions.  Impatience - as my surgery recovery was much slower than expected.  Anger - as I woke up one week after surgery with throbbing pain in my right leg so instead of a morning of Christmas shopping with my husband we took our date to the hospital for an ultrasound and to the lab for yet more blood work.  Thankful - as we learned I did not have the blood clot as suspected and my hemoglobin had rebuilt to the low end of normal allowing my energy to finally come back.  Annoyed - thinking that the treatment planning process is taking forever.  Joyful - spending the holidays with family and successfully hosting our first holiday meal in our home.  Relief - That my nephew was improving every single day after his surgery and suffering from Staph.
Belief - As my brother-in-law had triple by-pass heart surgery and although we got a complete scare during the surgery prayers were answered and his heart responded allowing him to now be safe at home.  Peace - As I celebrated the birth of our Savior.  Happiness - As I watched our kids open a box with a new Shih-Tzu Puppy inside.  Anxiety - As I listened to other radiation/chemo patients talking about their side effects in the doctor's lobby today.  Laughter - When I told other people about the grumpy patient smacking his cane around on things in the lobby.  He was not a patient I'd like to see every single day for weeks at a time! Loved - By so many who sent cards, e-mails, facebook messages and texts showing me their support over the last couple weeks.

Honestly, I've learned that my emotions may change by the hour as I continue to wait for treatments to begin.  On one hand I'm anxious to get started and on the other hand I'm scared of the unknown. 

I've learned that chemotherapy has a much simpler planning process and my Med-Onc only needs about 30 minutes notice to prepare everything for my treatment.  On the other hand radiation normally takes a full 2 weeks to prepare and although no one is admitting it, I think mine's taken a bit longer as people have been enjoying the holidays.  The Med-Onc works it, physics people work it, a group I can't even pronounce work it and then it comes back to the Med-Onc.  Today I learned that a radiation technologist will call me either tomorrow or Thursday morning when my final file is expected complete and I should begin radiation treatment tomorrow afternoon or Thursday of this week. 

I know that God gives us what we need in his perfect timing and in the nick of time.  On the afternoon of Dec. 23rd feeling defeated that I would never feel good enough to enjoy the preparations of Christmas, or even the holiday itself, I suddenly got a new burst of energy that sustained right through Christmas.  I was certainly not feeling like myself, but I was able to enjoy the moment and actually do some of the shopping and prep myself.  I saw clearly a gift of energy from God; the thing I needed the most at the time.  God knows what we need and He wants us to ask Him for help.  During the church service this last Sunday we read this verse John 14:13-14 "You can ask for anything in my name and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.  Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!"

AMEN!  I'm counting on it!