Thursday, October 27, 2016

Radiation Week 1 And Some Good News

Today while waiting to see Dr. Q a mother with her 3 children dressed in Halloween costumes handed out crafty pumpkin decorations and little sacks of candy to all the patients sitting in the waiting room.  This was such a kind gesture and a great way for a mom to teach her children about service.  I told my mom that we need to do more service as a family.
I have had 7 radiation treatments.  I still have pain, mostly in my lumbar spine and left hip.  It seems just in the last day that the pain in my tailbone has improved just a bit.  I'm continuously on pain meds which I've been instructed to take by both Dr. Q and Dr. Dan.  Sometimes I'm not sure if it is the pain medicine that is helping the pain or the radiation.  Yesterday my body ached like I had the flu.  Unfortunately flu like symptoms are a major side effect of immunotheraphy.  Thankfully Motrin seems to improve these symptoms and today I'm not feeling them.  The worst pain is in the morning.  Once I get going for the day I do better.  

I take a zofran every morning for nausea, which seems to keep it at bay throughout the day.  I don't have much of an appetite and nothing sounds good, not even sugar; well most of the time anyway.  I'll take the 2 pound weight loss I had this week. 

I'm tired all the time.  I often find myself laying on the couch with my eyes closed.  I'm not necessarily sleepy, just tired.  I don't have a lot of energy, but I have gone on a few walks this week to enjoy the beautiful fall leaves.
I watch the people that surround me at the cancer center.  Most of the time I see children my age or my mothers age who are there accompanying their aging parents who are the patients.  It's quite strange to be the patient accompanied by my healthy mom.  It just doesn't seem fair.  I'll admit I've been a little tearful today, but I'm quick to dry my tears and keep going.

I'm so tired of this routine of having radiation every day (which only takes less than 10 minutes).  It's only been a week, I know and I'm complaining.  Only 4 weeks and 2 days left.  I'm glad to have a few things to look forward to in the coming month; a few trips to see Tristen (I needed a few more flights to get my A-list prefered status), a trip back to Phoenix to work a few days, the holidays and the big 40th birthday.

Enough of Debby Downer.  Now the Good News:
Last weeks BSU/BYU game was crazy amazing and BSU is still one of the only few teams in the nation that is undefeated.  Hopefully they can keep it up this week against Wyoming.
I have started writing my recipe book.  I'm so excited for this project and hope it comes together as quickly as I want it to.  The editing is what is probably going to take the longest.  I already have 60 recipes in the book, mostly in the meat and main dishes.  I figure if I can input 5-6 recipes a day, I should have it finished by Christmas (finished, not published), well maybe.  On Saturday I attended Women Ignite conference where I met a lady who helps people publish books.  Funny how you meet people at the right time. 

We had a very fun evening of frosting donuts last week.  I will admit, this is the perfect time of year to be sick so that I can enjoy all that Fall and the Holiday season have to offer.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Coconut Chicken With Mango Lime Mustard

I'm in love with this simple yet delicious meal.  I love coconut and I love mangoes and limes so of course I love this dish.  It can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less too.  Pair with a green salad or potato of your choice.  I've even served this with squash soup.

1 lb chicken tenders or breasts cut into strips
1 cup coconut flour
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1-2 tablespoon coconut oil
Mango-Lime Mustard
1/2 mango cut into chunks
1/4 cup mayonnaise (olive oil based)
juice from 1 lime
1/2 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of salt
~Preheat the oven to 400° F.  If your coconut oil is solid, rub it over a cookie sheet, if liquid, drizzle over cookie sheet.
~In a bowl combine the coconut flour, paprika, and salt. 
~Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl.
~Fill another bowl with shredded coconut.
~Dip the tenders into the coconut flour letting the excess fall off.  Then dip in the egg. Let the excess egg fall off and then dredge through the coconut. Place on the baking sheet and repeat.
~Bake for 15 minutes, turn, then continue to cook for about 8 minutes or until coconut if slightly brown.
 ~While the chicken is baking, combine all ingredients for the sauce in a blender and blend until smooth.

Friday, October 21, 2016


Last weekend Tenielle and I met in Austin.  I had a dermatology conference and she came to keep me company.  Austin is awesome.  They have delicious food, weird art and lots of entertainment. Saturday we had fun at the Texas football game and walked 20,000 steps while doing all sorts of touring including the capital. 
Sunday we had the awesome opportunity to attend the LiveStrong Challenge where hundreds of people rode in honor of all cancers.  Even though Live Strong was started because of Testicular Cancer, their money raised helps people of all cancers.  They offer passes to YMCA (which I'm going to hook up with when I return to Phoenix) and they also help people with infertility after cancer.  We met some pretty awesome people who have lost loved ones to cancer.
Like the sign says, I definitely feel like I'm in the fight of my life.  I started radiation yesterday.  It's not so bad yet...

They were having the Austin Film Festival while were were there.  We got to see a showing of Jackie.  It was ok.  I expected it to be about her life after President Kennedy's assassination, but it was about the week after. 

Places we ate:
~Salt Lick BBQ at the airport twice.  So yummy.  It's a mix of Mexican and BBQ.  How can you go wrong with that?
~Stubbs BBQ.  Pretty yummy.  I loved their BBQ Sauce.
 ~Dine.  This was the restaurant in the Raddison where we stayed.  We ate there at happy hour and had some pretty yummy ceviche and guacamole.
~Hula Hut.  By far the best virgin pina colada I've ever had.  I loved the ambiance and the food was yummy.  Thanks to Kaycee for this recommendation.

~Berry Austin Frozen Yogurt.  Delicious and the decor is awesome.
 We found a lot of the cool signs around town.  What a fun time we had, even though it was super hot and humid.
We didn't have a car, but used the bus and Austin's version of uber.  They both worked out well, even if we missed the bus a few times and had to wait around more than we liked while the sweat dripped down our bodies.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Carters Blessing Day

The morning after Tanners wedding we woke early for Carters Blessing Day.  It was a beautiful Fall day and Carters blessing was beautiful.  We even got to hear mom bear her testimony. 

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Baby Brother Is Married

This past weekend couldn't have been a more beautiful weekend for a wedding.  10 Years ago my sister got married.  The day was nice, but a little cool.  However Saturday was in the 70's all day, there were a few leaves on the ground, but the grass was still green, the sky was blue and love was in the air for everyone except for me of course. 

We had so much help with the wedding that all we really had to do on Saturday was warm up 3 soups and put the finishing touches on them, watch some football and get ourselves beautified. 

I can't wait to get the professional photo's, especially of our family photo (the one posted is not great but I have a feeling the professional one is going to be awesome).  I still have hanging in my house a family photo with only 1 sister-in-law and no nieces and nephews.  I definitely need to replace it.  I have to say my nieces and nephews all looked absolutely darling.  I feel bad that I didn't get a single picture with just me and Tanner or a close up of Kayla and Tanner.  So of course when the real photo's come I'll post them.
 I absolutely love this picture of the kids with Grandma Betty, our only living grandparent.
 We had so much fun dancing the night away, visiting with friends, eating yummy food, sending the couple off with giant sparklers and making amazing memories.  Welcome to the family Kayla!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Fun

Friday night since almost all of us were together (Tristen opted out because she had a bad case of mastitis, poor girl) we made our way to one of our favorite pumpkin patches.  We have had this tradition for many years and I love it.  Of course it's only fun because the kids enjoy it.  They climb up on hay bales over and over again and slide down this crazy slide.  They play in the corn and we find corn in cars and clothes when we get home.  We go on a hay ride and then we have donuts or sugar cookies this time.  Of course they are always filthy and need a good scrub in the tub when we get home.  It is always a fun night and since we went early in October the weather was perfect.

Radiation A Go

Friday I had an appointment with Dr. Dan.  He told me not to give up, because they weren't giving up either.  I love that.  I also loved that his nurse and most of the nurses in the chemo suite were dressed in their BSU getup to support our team who ran all over NM that night.  My friend Linda came with me since everyone else was busy with wedding preparations.  It was fun to have her there with me.  Her support means so much to me.  I like to think of myself as the daughter she never had.
While I was having immunotherapy infusion I went downstairs to me with Dr. Q the radiation oncologist.  She was awesome.  Both her and Dr. Dan feel that doing the immunotherapy and radiation together is my best bet right now.  Dr. Q told me she feels that I have many years to come.  Monday I went in for preparations for radiation which was just laying on a table and having them put needle sized tattoo's in three areas on my abdomen, which will help them to line me up on the table to make sure things are precise.  I will start chemo next Wednesday.  It will be 5 days a week for 6 weeks and usually only takes about 15 minutes.  The side effects predicted are bowel issues (like I don't have those already), decreased energy (Dr. Q said I'd only have 85 percent of my energy if that, I hope she is wrong) and I will eventually develop a burn on my skin where the radiation will be penetrating (ugh). 

I will continue to have immunotherapy infusions every other week for at least 4 months, likely longer.  I met with a new Dr. D gyn/onc yesterday here in Phoenix.  My friend Nicole went with me and actually knows Dr. D and thinks she is fabulous as do I.  When I return in December and for months after I will have immunotherapy in Phoenix so I don't have to keep going back to Boise. 

I'm feeling good about my treatment.  I'm really tired of this routine, but am so hopeful that this will extend my life and give me pain relief.  I'm still in pain, but sitting on a heating pad or ice and taking continuous pain meds at least helps alleviate the pain a little. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016


I'm typically not one to complain about pain and I typically don't really have pain, but the past two weeks the pain I'm having in my tailbone and lumbar spine is about to do me in.  I've started taking pain meds at night and if I'm not working I'm going to have to start taking them throughout the day. 

Unfortunately the doctors in San Diego called today saying that they don't feel the intraoperative chemo will be curative.  Because of where the tumor is they would have to remove the entire rectal region and I would have to have a colostomy the rest of my life.  Which we all know doesn't function very well when it comes to style or comfort.  Therefore, they recommend the surgery be the very last resort.  I was hopeful they could just go in, take out the mass and I'd be pain free, but that's obviously not going to be happening.  They (meaning 2 different surgeons in San Diego) recommend that I start radiation to shrink the tumors, which will then decrease the pain. 

I emailed this information to Dr. Dan this afternoon.  He emailed back telling me he agrees and that we can do radiation simultaneously with the immunotherapy.  After my infusion on Friday I will have an appointment with the radiology oncologist to discuss radiation.  Typically radiation is 5 days in a row for several weeks.  The side effects aren't pleasant and can include diarrhea, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and decrease appetite to name a few.  Because I have a conference next weekend in Austin, I'm hoping I can endure a few more weeks before starting all of this.  I also hope that I can do some of these treatments in Phoenix, because I really want to be here for the best months weather-wise and I like sleeping in my bed at my home.

Sometimes I feel like I'm losing hope, but then I think of my 12 nieces and nephews and remember that I'm fighting for them and our future together.  I am hopeful that the immunotherapy is our answer.  I know you all have been praying for 3 years, but please keep the faith with me and keep praying even though I'm sure you are all tired of praying for me.
Isn't Mr. Carter darling?  I can't wait to meet him and hold him this weekend!