Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Insert Yell of Joy here!

From my SIL, Debbie:

Hi Friends and Family. Hope you're having a great night! So far, we have had a great week (almost normal!) and I'm hoping it will continue. Taylor had her doctor's appointment to go over the results of her PET and CT scans (if you haven't read my journal entry about that day you should. It was an eye-opener!) Her doctor informed us that the tumors (aka affected lymph nodes) have shrunk significantly and 90% of them appear to have died off (which is a good thing.) The remaining 10% are either dying off or have died and just haven't shrunk yet. This officially puts her into the category known as "early remission" which means that she is in the very beginning stages of remission. To put it in plain terms, they have killed off the existing cancer nodes and are now going to turn their attention to medicating the rest of her system to ensure that the remaining nodes and other organs are protected and that any pre-cancer cells that are lurking elsewhere are found and eliminated. We are looking at about 2 years of decreasingly frequent chemotherapy to accomplish this.

While her next phase of treatment seems to be less proactive on the surface, it is actually more intense drug-wise, at least in the clinic. She will be getting a mixture of five chemotherapy drugs at once now (as opposed to two or three) and she will have to have spinal injections which means twilight sedation once a week for the next five weeks. In addition, we will have to do subcutaneous injections at home for three of the seven days per week. The flip side is that she will have to take two to three medications daily by mouth instead of the nine or ten that she is taking now (depending on the days.) But the chemo is WORKING which is the best news in the world that we could get.



Praising God here! Please keep praying!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

El Mal Del El Sol

We asked our Hispanic friend how to say "sunburn" in Spanish, and el mal del el sol is what he told us. Roughly translated, it's "the bad of the sun."

Everyone knows that if you need sunscreen, you come and see me. I am always so careful about my children and the sun, to the point where they try to run away from me! My mantra has been, "Not on my watch! You won't be sunburned on my watch!"

So why, knowing I was going to an outdoor wedding yesterday, in Florida, did I not put on any sunscreen?

Kelly didn't, either.



It's actually much worse than it looks because of the camera flash.


My shoulders are completely red, but my arms have already turned to tan. Kelly, unfortunately, will just burn and go back to white. The most she can hope for is for her freckles to join together for a tan!

My skin is damaged enough. I seriously didn't want to damage it further. What was I thinking?

Ok, I wasn't.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's Hard to Believe

I have gone almost three weeks without any pain reliever or Excedrin. This is unheard of. I've had this dull ache at the back of my head, but that went away to almost nothing. Today, unfortunately, it seems to be time for the cyclical headache.

I REALLY don't want to take Excedrin, so I'm going to take some ibuprofen (allowed) and rest (also allowed).

I've been pretty careful about what I eat, but unfortunately we've been so busy, I haven't been cooking much. I've had to try to choose the "least damaging" foods when eating out. Citrus seems to be all the rage for flavoring these days! I love eating at Bahama Breeze, but most of the foods I love most have some kind of citrus sauce on them, or avocado.

Lord, when I start to reintroduce foods, please don't let avocado be a trigger! Amen.



Saturday, April 19, 2008

Before, During, and After

It was spa day for the W ladies! Can you guess whose toes these belong to?


It seems that whenever we get our hair cut, it's a remarkable, dramatic event. The truth is, we rarely remember to go get a haircut, so when we finally do, WOW! What a difference!

Ok, and so we DO like shocking our friends with dramatic changes. Who doesn't?


Glenna was up first:

Before: Note the long, scraggly looking hair. This girl would step out of the shower, comb her hair, and within minutes it would look like she never touched it. Still, she wears a smile! She knows Ruthie will give her just the right cut.


Having someone else shampoo your hair is as close to heaven as we'll get here on earth. Ahhhh.


Kelly has donated her hair before, but this would be a first for Glenna. Because of Taylor's illness and the need for so many, both girls decided not to let their hair go to waste. They even agreed to a shorter cut so they'd be able to donate.


I love the look on Glenna's face, here!


This is for you, Tay! We love you!


Glenna was practically giggling the entire time. Although those aren't MY toes in the first picture, I was indeed getting a pedicure during Glenna's cut. Kelly took the pictures. That's how much faith I have in our Ruthie . ... I didn't even need to be there!


Still smiling!


Biggest smile!


This is the part I wish someone would do for me each day. Please? Anyone? I mean on me, not Glenna . . .

Ok, here comes the unveiling. Drum roll, please . . .






Cha

Cha


Cha!!!

She came walking around the corner where I was getting a pedicure and I'm sure the entire salon heard my reaction. I love it! I started weeping because it made her look so much older. My Baby girl!


After my pedicure, Michelle offered to paint Glenna's toenails. Yes, those are hers in the first picture.


Now it's Kelly's turn!





Before: Kelly's hair is long and thick. She really wanted to take advantage of the thickness and get a cut that could accentuate the positivity.


Unlike her mother, whose hair has no positivity. And her sister, who has her mother's hair, but manages to look cute with it. Unlike her mom.


Meanwhile, Glenna has moved on to her manicure. Who is that sophisticated young lady with the darling hair, manicure, and glass of wine/apple juice? May I have her autograph?



Kelly's turn for the close-to-heaven part.


She had no problem making the 10 inch requirement for Locks of Love. I'm telling you, this girl's hair can grow.

We love you, Tay!


Ruthie went right to work on Kelly. I could tell this was fun for her. She was cutting and snipping and checking and slashing and razoring and thinning and doing all the wonderful things I was always too scared to do!



Kelly is more than excited, here. She hasn't really seen it yet, but she already knows she loves it.

Uh huh, uh huh. . . yeah, yeah . .




I want you to notice the lady getting her hair done behind Kelly. She was so involved in this entire process. She even made her stylist wait at the shampoo bowl while she was watching Kelly and Ruthie.





See what I mean? She was cracking us up there.





Aaaaand, the final unveiling . . . . .






WOW!!!



I loved the whole day with my girls. We rushed over to the W's and then had lunch together. After a day at the spa, one must not go directly home, of course!


Waaaiiiit a minute, waaiiiit a minute . . . . . .

Something's not quite right.



Is Kelly taller than I am?????

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Guess Who . . .

. . . watches Dancing With the Stars???











Oh, the joy, the sheer abandon!









I know it's hard to tell, but that's Jack at the bottom, barking at them, telling them to stop it. It's part of his duties around here.

Good News!

This in an email from my SIL, Deb:

We did get some great news though. The CT scan that they did to see what was going on showed that the malignant lymph nodes are significantly shrinking which means the chemo is working! The report states a "marked decrease" in those nodes, so we were all thrilled to see that Dr. Willert does indeed seem to be on the right track in knocking this out.


Praising God, here!

Thank you to all who have visited her web site and signed her guest book. It means so much to her to know there are people everywhere praying for her! She has been feeling poorly this week and it's a long story, but they're hoping she'll go back home today (she's been in the hospital since Tuesday). If you have a moment, drop her a line! She loves reading the messages from people.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Feel Good

I knew that I would! (Or is that I feel well?)

Aside from waking at 5:15 this morning for NO apparent reason, I'm feeling pretty sweet these days. I'm still aware of the back of my head and it feels tender, but bending down is getting easier.

Himself ordered plane tickets for me last night! I'll be seeing Taylor in June. Oh, and her parents.

:-)

Today, the girls and I will view the Norman Rockwell exhibit at a local museum! We're so excited as we've loved his stuff for years. I wonder if they'll let me take pictures?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Taylor's Page

Hi All, I wanted to let you know my niece's web page is up! Please take a moment to check it out. She goes in for another does of chemo on Tuesday, and Deb thinks she may be experiencing some hair loss already. She's such a trooper!

Yesterday, I was calling Tyler while driving home from BA's, and I accidentally called Taylor instead (her name is right above Ty's on my cell). She just laughed. :-)

Thank you all for your well wishes on my account. I'm beginning to see some hope, here! Saturday afternoon I had a lot more energy. Yesterday was a pretty good day, and this morning is a "so far so good" day. The pain has been reduced to a dull ache in the back of my head and to needing to rest my head periodically. Praise!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

One step forward, two steps back

I feel so useless. I have this continual, dull headache that gets stronger on occasion. I want to stay in bed!

I took Midol for cramps and belatedly realized it has caffeine in it, so while I had been making strides on the Excedrin leaving my system, I now have the caffeine headache (two days now). The book says this process should take a couple of weeks.

Would everyone just put life on hold until then? Please?

The irony - I have to go to a tea today. I'll be drinking water and passing on the chocolate. If it weren't for Kelly and Kate singing a duet, I wouldn't even go.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tangoriffic!

I'm so sorry, but for some reason the video of Kelly and Chico doing another tango is NOT loading. I'm so frustrated! If you want to see it, come on over and I'll show it to you.

:-)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Detoxing

Many of you know how much I suffer from migraines.



Mr. Bennett! Have you no consideration for my poor nerves?

Of course I do, my dear. They've been my constant companion these 20 years.



My friend, Jess, is exploring a type of migraine relief and keeping track of the results for me.

A book was recommended to me by a friend who has also suffered from migraines. It has been so educating to learn exactly what a migraine is, how the pain relievers I use are actually not helping the situation, and how all of this can be controlled. Not eliminated completely, but controlled.

I remember slightly following the dietary steps in this book years and years ago. I also taught step-aerobic classes at our church at that time. It was the best I ever felt! Diet and exercise are key to control. Boy, isn't that how it always is? 100 years from now the doctors will still be saying the same thing; diet and exercise. Oh, and sleep. And low stress. Anyway, when I became pregnant with Kelly, all dietary restrictions went out the window, and I haven't gone back since.

This book has revealed that while I took some steps, it really wasn't enough.

This morning I have tossed out all the decaf coffee [sob] and left only herbal tea that's naturally caffeine-free. I did leave one bag of decaf coffee from my friend Janet, whose son brought it from Starbucks. I'll have it here for guests.

I'm also "detoxing" from all the pain relievers (Excedrin) I had been taking. This means that I have a constant headache, low or strong (it varies), which should end in a couple of weeks. I may not have a spring in my step for a while, but I'm working on it!


There's myriad lists of foods I can't eat, but there's also myriad foods I CAN eat! The last thing I want this to turn into is a burden for my friends and family. Please, if I can't eat it, I'll pass. If I can eat it, I will. I will not starve! I'm fine, really!

I am tired of living with pain. The person who gave me this book went from 10 to 15 migraines per month to only 3 since January, since there are simply some migraines one cannot avoid. I'll take that any day!

So, my main foods to avoid are:

Chocolate [sob]

Caffeine [duh]

Decaf (has more caffeine than we know. Caffeine-free is fine. Green tea is not. Sigh.)

Aged cheeses (cottage, ricotta, cream cheeses are fine)

Citrus [sob] (Back to berries and apples!)

processed meats (bacon, hot dogs, salami, etc., probably ham)

Nitrites

Nitrates

MSG (many times this is listed as "natural flavoring." Did you know that?)

Vinegar (except pure white)

All nuts (seeds are fine) and nut butters. No peanut butter!?! How will I survive?

Raisins and dried berries, like cherries and cranberries (they may have been processed with a type of MSG. I wonder if organic is OK?)

Onions, even onion powder (I didn't like them raw, but I put them in a lot of foods. Spring onions, shallots, leeks, scallions, and garlic are all right.)


The good news is that once I have raised my "pain threshold" to a more manageable level, I may be able to gradually reintroduce some of these foods. Or, I may just decide I prefer living without them.


Prayers appreciated. Again, let's not make a big deal out of it, and don't worry about what to feed me. :-) I'm fine.

Really.


Or, I will be.


Hopefully.



Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Waltz

video

Of course there was dancing at the variety show! Kate and Chico did a lovely waltz. They only had a few days to practice, and I think they did great! This is Kate's debut in dancing and you can see how proud Chico is of her at the end.

Hooray for Kate!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Variety Show

Each year, our church has a variety show. We stopped calling it a talent show years ago, for obvious reasons. Anyway, it's loads of fun and I'm going to post a few videos.


This first one is of a cute skit Glenna was in, but for some reason I didn't catch the beginning. Those who know me, know I love audience participation! As I scan the crowd, you'll be able to see who loves it, and who doesn't.

I
t's kind of a neat shot of my church family. I love those guys!



video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Happy Birthday, Ty!

Happy birthday to my favorite son! Ty . . . will I ever stop thanking God for you? Will I ever stop thanking God for allowing me to be your mom?

Of course not.

You are loved and treasured by all. Hope your day is blessed and filled with the awareness of God's love for you!

Oh, and tonight? At the birthday party where the band is playing? Rock their socks off.


:-)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fun with shopping carts

Here's a little fun that happened when we returned from the high school camping trip. We were the first to arrive and were waiting for the others. You can see the white van turn into the parking lot toward the end of the video.



I'd like to say there'll be more pictures and videos coming, but remember; I hate the internet. it works, then it doesn't. In fact, this is my fourth attempt to load this video!

video

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