Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Real Quick

Just wanted to give you a quick update, since I kind of left y'all hanging with my last post.

I just flew home to a steaming 105 degrees and it's 930pm for goodness sakes.  The last 2 weeks with my family were fabulous.  We made some great memories, I cuddled those sweet nieces and nephews of mine a lot and relaxed by the pool while chatting with my sisters, sister-in-laws and girlfriends.

The past 3 days with HM were incredible.  This relationship good.  The timing doesn't make sense, but God's timing is often not ours.  I'm so happy that he doesn't think of me any differently because I have a little cancer.  He makes me want to fight this beast even harder.  Given this a long distance relationship, it forces us to communicate.  This definitely takes effort and I'm so very happy we both put forth that effort. 

I'm about to embark on another 14 of 18 days of work before going home again for another chemo treatment.  I'm feeling much better from the last treatment, with the exception of having some sores in my mouth, a bit of a summer cold and being tired. 

Oh and I promise I'll give you a thorough update on the past two weeks soon...

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Chemo/Cancer Update

Friday was an exciting day, well as exciting as it comes when chemo and cancer are involved.  My CA-125 went from 55 to 35.  But the masses have not shrunk since the last scan in April.  At least the pain has subsided for the most part.  Dr. Dan is AMAZING.  He gives me the biggest hug when he enters the room and when he leaves.  I truly believe he has my best interest in mind and is working hard to make me well.  I will see Dr. Cooper (my surgeon) on Friday to see what she thinks about the masses.  For now we have decided to keep doing chemo and hoping that the next few treatments will shrink the tumors.  Dr. Dan says the longer I do the treatment the worse the side effects will be and it is the hope that the chemo will shrink the tumors. 
This red devil chemo has made me ridiculously ill this week.  Yesterday was bad, so bad that I didn't have any energy to brush my teeth (I know disgusting, but really I was afraid I'd puke again) or take a shower.  I vomited up the breakfast that I ate, even though I ate super slowly.  I don't know why this chemo makes me so nauseated, but it does.  I absolutely hate to puke.  It's got to be the worst thing.  This is now 2 months in a row that I've vomited from the chemo.  My bones hurt so stinking bad and the crazy pain in my eyes make it so bad that I don't even want to open them.  I'm grateful for medications that do help with these side effects, but for the most part I've been sleeping off and on for the last few days.  I am feeling a little better today, but not nearly back to normal.  I'm hoping tomorrow I'm back to normal since my sisters and nieces will be here.  We have big plans for the weekend and I want to feel better.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

I'm Home

From now until June 26 I will be home enjoying every moment with my family. Eating, laughing, cuddling with my cute nieces and nephews and making lots of fun memories.  Last night when I got home it was freezing as in 49 degree's.  For my Phoenix blood it felt like Winter.  But it has since warmed to a lovely 70 today and only a few more days and we will be in the 90's, hanging out at the pool and working on our Summer tans.  Stella, is already there; so not fair that she has such beautiful skin.

The kids visited last night as well as 3 of my girlfriends.  And I got to meet my new niece Klara. She has beautiful large eyes and a Grandma Swensen chin like most of the great grandkids and me.

Tonight we attended Gavins baseball game.  He even hit a home run.  And at 930 I went on a lovely jog around the neighborhood.  I love that in Idaho it is light outside until almost 10.  In Phoenix its dark by 730.  It was so nice that I was wearing a sweatshirt and wasn't sweating my brains out tonight, I'd even say it was a bit nippy.  Last week I went on a walk in Phoenix at 730 in the morning and seriously didn't think I was going to be able to make it home because it was so dang hot. 

Sunday, June 12, 2016


I'm not going to lie, I've definitely let some tears fall this week.  The beginning of this week was not easy, but as I start a new week I'm taking in a big breath and pressing on, especially as I look forward to Wednesday when I get to go home.

This past week was rough in so many ways.  Mostly because I have been in an extreme amount of discomfort.  So much so that I've actually been taking a half of a pain pill at night and Motrin all day just to get some relief.

Tuesday I started to develop a cold sore on my nose, only the fifth time I have had one in my life and always on my nose.  Apparently my body thinks I'm under a little bit of stress.

Monday I got word that my company is going to end their contract with the ER and Urgent Care I work at in the coming months, something I'm super sad about because I love the company I work for.

But even among the storms that seem to be unraveling before me, I'm so easily able to see the many blessings in my life.

Some how, some way I woke this morning without pain.  I've been waiting for it to start back all day, but it seems to be gone.  I know that this can only be a blessing from my Heavenly Father.  He has heard my pleadings.  But I'm sure even more that He has answered the prayers of my dear mother.

As soon as I saw and felt the cold sore start I sent a text to one of my PA friends who called in a prescription for me.  2 pills in 12 hours and a day later it was almost gone.  Such a blessing, given my immune system is low and my body should have a hard time fighting any kind of infection.

I had a telephone visit with one of my company's VP's this week.  She let me know that whatever happens in the coming weeks that I will still have health insurance and disability insurance and that I'll be taken care of.  A huge blessing indeed, especially since I got new windows put in my house this week; an expense I should have waited on.  She also offered me a job in Denver, California, NC or wherever else they have openings.  However since I just bought a house in AZ, I have little desire to move for a job right now.  I have many options and am grateful for the experience I have and the knowledge that the Lord will guide me to what is best for me, whether that means staying on with the new group or moving on to something else.

I found out this week that I've hit my max out of pocket of $2250.  It wasn't hard to meet with a few chemo treatments.  However, I also learned that my $1250 deductible is also included in the max out of pocket, which is another blessing.  The rest of my medical care for this year will be paid for by my insurance.  What a blessing, especially if another surgery is in my future.

Blessings are all around us.  Sometimes it's hard to see the blessings when we feel bogged down, but they are there.  I'm so grateful that even though I get discouraged at times that I know Heavenly Father is with me.  Sometimes I'm sure at times He is even carrying me.  Many times I see the blessings come from the support I have from family and friends.  I've had several phone calls, text messages and emails this week by loved ones just checking in on me.  They mean so very much and help make things easier. 

Just like the turtle, I'm learning in life that slow and steady does win the race.

 Last Sunday I had a lovely dinner and visit with my cousin Deborah and her family.  How grateful I am for my relationship with her and the support she gives me along with all of my other cousins, friends and relatives.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

3 Years

For the past 3 day's I've been re-playing the events of 3 years ago in my mind.  It's crazy that I have been an ovarian cancer patient for 3 whole years.  I've been dealing with chemo and its side effects off and on for 3 years.  I've had several ugly scars on my abdomen and chest for 3 years.  It's been 3 years of doctors appointments, chemo treatments, many tears, losing my hair and growing it out again.  And for 3 years I've occasionally worried what the next 3 years will bring. But over the past 3 years I've learned more about faith, service, hope and love than I ever thought possible.

Today has been an emotional day for me as I remember losing my breakfast on the way to my appointment because I was so sick about my diagnosis, being told I had a 30-50% chance of being alive in 3-5 years (Hooray I've made it 3 years), a few hours later surprised that I was being wheeled into an 8 1/2 hour surgery and waking up in the ICU the next day.

For the past 5 days I've been experiencing symptoms of urinary frequency and urgency which I had when I was initially diagnosed.  This can only mean the mass (which measured 4x3cm in April) has moved or rather grown towards my urethra (ok maybe TMI but its a matter of fact).  I'm frustrated that this won't simply go away and resolve with prayer, fasting and help from the chemo that I've been having for nearly a year.

I feel that over the past month my heart has softened towards the idea of another surgery; a surgery and outcome that I DO NOT want, but may be necessary and the one thing that can help relieve my symptoms.  This past week I made an appointment with my surgeon Dr. Cooper in Boise for when I am home in a few weeks.  She told me a year ago and Dr. Dan told me in April that it would be best for me to have this particular surgery at a more specialized location.  I'm looking into it and know that the Lord will guide me to the best surgeons with the most experience.  

Today in church as the Sacrament was being passed I read from the hymn book a Sacrament hymn that gave me the guidance I was seeking.

"We take the bread and cup this day in memory of the Sinless one and pray for strength that we may say, As He, "Thy will, oh Lord be done."

And so I continue to pray for strength, endurance, hope and the miracle that I know I can be blessed with.  But most importantly I pray that through humility and long suffering my will, will eventually become His will, know matter the outcome.  I know that the Lord is mindful of me.  I know He hears my pleadings.  I feel that He is at times carrying me along this sometimes very difficult path.  Without a doubt I know He will continue to bless me with His guidance as I continue this journey.

There are many people I've met and experiences I have had over the past 3 years that I'm grateful for.  And it is only because of OVC that specific people and experiences have come to me.  Of course I wouldn't wish this disease upon myself, but if this is how the Lord has chosen for me to become the person I am to become, then I must be patient.  I must be hopeful and most of all I must continue to endure to the very end, which I hope is sometime when I'm a very old woman.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Sizzling Summer FF

1.  Oh, goodness may I just say I've been counting down this week.  I've worked every day and still have another shift tomorrow.  I forgot how much I don't like working 6 days in a row.  I'm also realizing I'm not cut out for it anymore, whether it is from age, experience, or chemo/cancer.  I've completed 8 of my 16 shifts in 20 days which means only 8 more shifts and 12 days before I get to go home to have another round of chemo, see my nieces and nephews, mom and dad and meet my new niece.
2.  It was a whopping 113 today.  Summer in Phoenix is official.  Too blasted hot for my liking.  And tomorrow it's suppose to be another record of 117.  So maybe it is best to be working in an a/c office.  Maybe my aunt Leslie is right, too HOT.
3.  I'm missing the fact that for the past 3 years at this time I was counting down my days until I went to MVY.  I'm totally bummed to not be going there this summer.  But at least I still get a picture every day from Vineyard Colors.  Hopefully next summer.
4.  I have an amazing neighbor.  This week she did my yard work, worked on my sprinklers and brought me an entire watermelon.  She is my angel and I'm so grateful for her.  Today when I got home from work we enjoyed an hour chatting in her pool.
5.  These darlings graduated from Kindergarten.  I can hardly believe it.  Stop growing so fast.
6.  I'm loving these picture's of darling Graham and the K's.  
7.  My nights are filled with phone calls and FaceTime, my days are filled with occasional texts, and my dreams are often silly ones with him in them (Like 2 nights ago when I dreamt he came out in some brown silk pants and a baby blue sweater; eek).  I'm still counting down to June 26...only 23 days until I get to touch him again.