Monday, April 28, 2008

How Angels Lives Cross

I have been wanting to tell a story about how small this world can be. I have not shared this story with you about another angel that I have come to love so dearly and how our lives have crossed. I'll start from the beginning and tell the story. I hope you stay with me.
I went to my first Seminar in June 2004 and so did this other sweet angel. Of course you know how people are at Seminar if you have ever been. They talk to everyone. Two Angels that I was rooming with (Jess Hansen and Kathy Harrison) and I decided to go to the Casino in KS and we asked this Angel to go with us. We had the most fun. Kathy drives like Mario Andretti...LOL and she had me and this person colliding in the back seat when she almost missed the exit for the Casino. We went in and had the best time. New friendships were born.

This sweet angel that was with us has the appearance to be a very outgoing person but is also very reasonably shy. It was this year that she won "The Angel of the Year Award" for starting the New Angel Packet Program. I remember watching her and she cried and couldn't look at anyone. She was so shy and didn't know what to do to be in the spotlight. She is one to help others and try not to be noticed. I'm sure a lot of you know who I am talking about now if you have been a TAC Demonstrator for anytime. It is our one and only Denise Collier. What a hoot this girl can be. You would love!!!!!

Denise and I didn't correspond much until she sent out a note about seeing the time to give up the Angel Packet Program. I wrote her about this and told her I would take it over. Very reluctantly she gave it up and has since said she would take it back anytime. We both love it. It is in our blood. In one of the emails Denise sent; she had told me of some tough times she is going through. I wrote her back and said "What a coincidince" I am too. We found out we were both battling breast cancer. As you can see we have connected three times in some way. We joke that this last one really takes the cake.

We have kept in such close contact sharing our experiences and our lives and how differently we have dealt with this. We have helped each other out tremendously. Even though our cancers were different and mine was invasive and could have ended up much worse; Denise's was a little more concentrated. She had her lumpectomy a week before I did. She has since had to go through a mastectomy and then I found out I needed the aggressive chemo. It seems like things are never ending right now. We tell each other we will get through it and be stronger than before.

What I guess I am saying here is that you never know who is going through something the same as you or even similar. The thing is please tell someone what you are going through. There are so many wonderful people out there that care and that caring can just get you through. I have received so much from my fellow demonstrators, friends and family.

I know that many of the Angels that come to my blog may want to email Denise and I'm sure she wouldn't mind. Here is her email addy.

Now on to my update. This is my third day out in Chemo and I guess has been my worst day. I have gotten a sore mouth, nausea, fatigue and constipation. What fun! I look at the whole scheme of things and I still don't feel as bad as I thought I would. I can function but not so fast.

I have babbled enough on here so I will go and hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Updates with Pictures

I thought I would first show the picture of me with my hair and then with my "chemo" cut. The picture with the yellow shirt was taken the day before my Breast Surgery which was March 17th. The other picture was taken at 4:30 in the morning the day I went to have my Port A Cath put in and start my chemo which was April 25th. I called my hair style the chemo cut because I had all of my hair cut off so when it started falling out it wouldn't be so messy. I actually like it and it is so easy to take care of. Maybe when it grows back after the chemo I will have a hairstyle like this.
My ordeal yesterday went like this. I got up at 4:00 am to shower and go to the hospital to get the Port A Cath put in. My DH and I left the house at 4:35 and was at the hospital about 5:10. We got there a little early and they took me on back to prep me. I was prepped and ready about 6:15. My surgery was to start at 7:30. My doctor came in about 7:20 and did the markings on my left side to do the cath and I was on my way to surgery at 7:25. They surgery was to take about 40 minutes and ended up being 2 1/2 hours. They couldn't get the cath to go in the left side so they had to switch to the right side and still had some problems. Here is a picture of what it looks like. The bruises don't look as bad in the pictures as it does in real life but you can see how it bruised. They had to cut the throat area too as you can see the line of the bruise how it goes in the artery and down to the catheter. You can also see on the left side where they couldn't get it in. It is not as painful as it looks...thank goodness.
Needless to say I didn't make my 9:15 dr. appt. to start the chemo. They called looking for me and said to come as soon as I was done. I woke up in recovery at 10:30. I looked at the clock and asked the nurse if it was right and she said yes. I told her my DH had an appt. at a different hospital for a test at 11:00. She called him in the waiting room to make sure he canceled it and he had. I ended up at my Oncologist for my dr. visit and my chemo at 1:00. it was a long day but we got it all done.
I haven't felt real bad. I went to bed with a headache and woke up every hour. When the nurse called today I explained that to her and she said it is the Steroid injection they gave me yesterday and also the ones I took today. I have two more days of those so I know what I am facing with that. I felt pretty good otherwise until about 4:30 and then I go really nauseated. I took my nausea medication and laid down. I finally got up and ate some crackers and drank som diet Dr. Pepper. They both helped as the crackers settled down the nausea and the Dr. Pepper made my burp. I guess we will see what tomorrow brings. Everyone have a great weekend...what is left of it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Chemo Day is HERE

Actually it is tomorrow but it is 10:05 p.m. right now and I wanted to post. I will have a full day tomorrow. I have to be at the hospital at 5:30 a.m. and it is a 45 minute drive. I will be getting up at 4:00 a.m. so I can shower first. I will need something to wake me up at that hour. I will be getting my Porta-Cath put in. It is a catheter put under the skin and into the main artery so they can administer my chemo that way. The Adriamycin (the wicked chemo drug) can not be given in the vein and has to go through an artery and that's why I get to have the cath put in. They said it would take about 40 minutes to put that in. I will be put in a twilight sleep for it which means I will go to recovery until I wake up and drink something. Once that is all done then I have the drive back to my hometown to see my medical oncologist for an appt. and the chemo will start after that. The chemo is suppposed to drip for about 4 hours. It is going to be a long day. I have no idea how I will feel right afterwards. I just know they have told me how sick I am going to be feeling.
I just wanted to say that if you are a praying person....I can use some. For the others that don't pray just keep some positive thoughts. My worst fear is having to puke all the time. There is nothing worse. They have given me tons of medicine for nausea so I am hoping to keep that at bay. So is my hubby. He would always gag when the kids got sick when they were little. I can see him helping me...LOL I do have back-up plans if need be. I hope to post soon but I don't know.
Everyone have a great weekend! I can't belive the end of April is upon us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

What a FUN Weekend

I had my semi-annual retreat this weekend and boy did I have a good time. It is just what I needed before all this chemo stuff starts. The card I am showing here is my card I did for the Card Swap. I am loving this Butterfly Swirls set. I actually took the idea from a fellow angel that made a card out of the scrap box at my SouthWest Ohio Angel Gathering...THANKS Sheryll Nall.

I just want to say that I have so many wonderful friends and family. They went behind my back and decided to get Breast Cancer Awareness shirts and wear on Saturday at the retreat. I also got some wonderful gifts from them. The funny thing is a lot of them went to a local shop in our town and got the shirts and gifts. They told them they were going to a retreat that was hosted by a lady that has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer and is getting ready to go through chemo. They didn't mention my name but I have known the lady that owns the shop of a very long time and just haven't been in there to talk to her. I am going in the next day or so and talk to her and tell her that it was my friends coming in. I want to also thank them because they gave one of the girls a very pretty bracelet to give to me. For anyone that is groing through Breast Cancer and wants a wonderful place to see things; go HERE and check them out. Of all times to forget my camera it was this weekend. One of the girls took pictures and I will get them from her to post. This is just the medicine I needed.

Friday I have to go to the hospital and get my porta cath put in for my chemo injections. As soon as I am done there I am off to see the oncologist and have my first treatment. It will be a full day. I hope to get a lot done this week before I start. I also hope to do some more posting so keep checking back. I have some things I want to scan and share.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Life is a Little Normal

I know I haven't been posting any stamping but I have been doing some. My semi-annual retreat is this weekend. Although I am not doing much for this one we are still having it. All of the regulars wanted it anyway. I am glad since it is my last weekend before I start my chemo.
It has been a good week to be so busy since I miss my doggy.
I will be leaving Friday for my retreat and back on Sunday. I then have a full week getting ready to have my port put in and starting my chemo.
I am hoping to post quite a bit next week before my chemo starts on Friday. I have lots to fill you in on and really want to share some of my stuff for this weekend. Be sure to check back as I hope to be around even after chemo starts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

In Memory of: Tanner

First let me say I really had a sad weekend. Not that I don't have enough going on in my life but my doggy, Tanner, got real sick and I had to have her put to sleep Saturday. Isn't she such a cutie? My DH and I noticed that Tanner wasn't eating much this past week. She has done that in the past and I didn't think a lot about it. She was drinking water and still peeing and I knew that was important. I figured she wasn't pooping since she was eating. Friday night she didn't really want to get up and go outside but did it with effort. I called the vet Saturday morning about 8:30 and gave them the scenario and they said to bring her in about 10:00. Floyd and I went and got some breakfast and came back home about 9:20. Tanner was on the living room floor and couldn't get up. She had vomited on the carpet which totally upsets her to do anything like that. We tried to get her to her feet and couldn't. I had to call my son to come and help put her in the car...he only lives a few blocks from us so that didn't take long. We got her to the vet and I of course went in to the office crying like a mad woman and told them we couldn't bring her in the front door so they helped up carry her in her blanket in the back door. We put her on the floor on her blanket and I got on the floor with her so she wouldn't be scared. The vet checked her and we held her up so her abdoment could be checked. The short story to that is she had a mass in her stomach and it seemed to have busted and she was bleeding internally. Our option was to spend about $2000 to see if she was fixable or not. With all the things in my life right now....we opted out of that. I didn't want her to go through all of that....she was almost 9 years old and that is good for such a big dog. I sat with her on the floor with her head in my lap and the dr. drugged her so she would go to sleep. She slept so soundly she was snoring. That is when the vet put her to rest eternally. She went peacefully while I held her and petted her. I stayed with her for a while and then covered her and left her in her blanket. She is being cremated and her asked scattered at the local pet cemetery. She will be with all the other loved animals that have crossed that Rainbow Bridge. The vet's office made a casting of her paw print in clay while I was there and will send it to me this week.

This is the first time in my married life of 35 years that I haven't had a dog. With my situation we won't have one for a while. Maybe later after all of this medical stuff with me is over with.

Please say a prayer for Tanner as she is at peace. Also give your four legged loved ones a hug for me. There is nothing like the hug from them. That's what I am going to miss the most.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Don't Know If I Will Get to the TECHnique This Week

It is Wednesday night already and I haven't had time to come up with a card for the Thursday TECH but wanted to. I have to go to a Genetic Dr. in the morning for testing. I will try later in the day to post. I was at the hospital yesterday having my heart test to make sure it is okay before I start Chemo. It's a good thing I'm not sick going into this...LOL The running will kill you!
Have a great day everyone!!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Sisterhood of the Blogging Stampers #16

That's right! I'm in the Sisterhood of the Blogging Stampers #16. I guess you are wondering what in the heck I am talking about. The Sisterhood is a group of ladies that love to stamp, create and have fun. They all have a blog with their ideas which is a great place to visit. All of the links to their blogs are shown on the side of my blog. Have fun and visit. Are you wondering how to join? You can go here and leave a comment to join. You do have to have a blog to do this. Go read about it and see if it is something you would like to have fun with.

Now to tell my new sisters a little about me. First off I am a Mom, Grandma, Friend, Stamping Teacher and on my way to being a Breast Cancer Survivor. I started out scrapbooking and then fell in love with stamping and the rest is history. I worked at a local craft store (independantly owned) for 25 years and managed it the last 13. The owner and I decided we needed to retire and I now am a TAC demonstrator who teaches classes out of my house and watch my grandchildren so my daughter can have her career as a teacher. I love everything about stamping and I especially love sharing with others.
I am also married to my wonderful hubby of 35 years. We hav two children and 4 grandchildren. I better mention one spoiled rotten dog. Life is good!!! I love to read when I get the chance...that chance is when I'm not on the computer or playing with my stamps.

Now I'm off to meet my new sisters and enjoy their blogs.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Where do I Start?

First of all let me get this off my chest CANCER SUCKS!!!! Now I feel better. I know I had told everyone that my radiation was done and I got my catheter out. I thought I was running towards home after that. NOPE!!!! I was caught and am back in the dugout. I had mentioned the Oncotype DX test where they can see what my chances of cancer coming back is. Well my chanes range between 23%-44% with an average of 34%. It also showed that the cancer cells were very aggressive and I am hormone negative which means I won't respond to hormone therapy to help fight the cancer cells. I was told I have to have a very aggressive chemo regimen. They call is Dose Dense Therapy. I will be given two chemo drugs (Adriamycin and Cytoxan) once every two weeks with a total of 4 doses. I will then be given the chemo drug Taxol once every two weeks with a total of 4 doses. This means I will be receiving chemo until sometime in July depending on the exact start date. I do have to have some tests before hand. One of the tests is a heart test. It is called a MUGA Scan and pictures are actually taken of the heart pumping. The Adriamycin can cause heart failure so they want to make sure your heart is pumping normal before administering. If anything at all shows up with the heart that chemo regimen will not happen. The plan goes that if that test is okay then I will see the medical oncologist (Dr. Crane) again and we will talk about an anti-nausea regimen for me. He says I will lose my hair, be very sick and very tired. Just what I am looking forward to. Anway after that visit I will then have a port line put in to have the chemo administered through. After all of that is done I will be ready to start....FUN huh? One other thing I am doing is being genetically tested. Dr. Crane said he wanted me to see a genetic dr. and see if this is all genetic. That happens Thursday.

Both my medical oncologist and my breat surgeon says it is odd for the me have had such a small tumor in the early stages of cancer and have the numbers this test showed for me. My surgeon put it as "We have a bad actor that has an ugly face." I could give this cancer friend of mine some more not so nice names.

Now...I have been upbeat about this.....HECK NO!!!! I have cried more over this and anything I have encountered so far. I can't even pinpoint why except I just want it over. I am tired of feeling tired and now I am told it will get a lot worse before it gets better.

Will I stay positive...HECK YES!!!! That's half the battle. I can have bad days and still be positive. There is a purpose for this...even though I haven't figured it out but I know it is there.

Will it make me a better person.....I SURE HOPE SO! All of us have room for improvement in whatever form and I know something from this will make me a better person.

Am I scared to lose my hair....MAYBE NOT SCARED BUT NERVOUS! I was one that always liked the color of my hair. It was bright red when I was little and then turned an auburn color. Of course it has a lot of gray now but I did like it. What scares me the most about losing my hair is the fact I am not a beuty queen so losing my hair will not enhance my looks any...What a bummer!!!! I don't think I am a wig type person so bald will be me. I figure if someone doesn't want to associate with me because I have no be it!!!!! It is their loss!!!!

What do I see that can be a silver lining here......LOSE WEIGHT!!!! Maybe I can change from the chunky bunny to the sleek mink...LOL Knowing my luck I will be the only person in history to go through aggressive chemo and not lose a pound. Boy will I be mad!!!!

AS FOR TAC SEMINAR...I am still planning on going. I already asked Dr. Crane and he said he would want me to go and we will work around it. So.....I am still planning on attending so if you see a bald woman (hopefully on the way to the sleek mink stage) that looks like's me and don't worry I'm not contagious and come up and get a hug and say Hi!!!

SO....there is what my life is going to encounter. I am going to try to stay as normal as possible with my activities...that is posting on the computer and making a few cards. I won't be having classes or running marathons.

Anyone that really knows me and has met my family they know that my son is a Momma's boy. By the picture he looks like a big brut but he is a big teddy bear and is so nice and loves everyone...especially me and kids...LOL He is divorced...any nice girls want a nice guy...LOL The main thing is you have to move here...I won't let him leave.

One of the things my son loves is tattoos. They are not my thing but hey he will be 32 the 14th of this month so there isn't much I can do. Here is what he did for me:

The initials above the ribbon is my mom's. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1990. She went in and had a mastectomy; came out of surgery and had a massive stroke 1 1/2 hours later and died the next day. The bottom initials are mine. He said he could get a car magnet and someone would steal it but they steal his arm. The colors are of course a pink ribbon and shadowed in purple which represents all cancers. This picture was taken the day after he got it. It really touched my heart that he did this. It is his way of showing me his support and wants everyone to be aware.

One of my good friends called tonight and said we should have a hair shaving party and shave our heads. I then said we could all get T-shirts that say "Can you tell which one really has cancer?" and my sister said on the back we could say "Only my hairdresser knows for sure." What a hoot!!!! This is what keeps me going...I have the best support team ever. I have wonderful friends and family all around me and I have all of my cyber and angel friends on the net. Thanks everyone that reads my blog and prays for me!!!!

Tomorrow is a new day and is suppose to be wonderful weather wise. In the evening I am going to enjoy and then go to my friends mom's house where we are going to play cards and munch out!!!! During the day I will spend it with DH and enjoy the sunshine. I know we will be taking a walk as we are going to do that everyday to give me as much strength as we can before my treatments start.

Love you guys and check back!!!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Thursday TECH!

This is the first chance I got downstairs to get on the computer today so I thought I would post my TECHnique. This is a technique I did a long time ago but really like it. You need the right kind of stamp for it to look right though. It is called Brayered Reflections.
Here are the directions:

Brayered Reflections
Glossy Cardstock
Kaleidacolor pad or dye based ink pads in color of your choice
Stamps of your choice
Noir Black Palette Stamp Pad
Heat Gun
Sponge (Optional)
Brayer glossy cardstock with ink color of your choice. Ink stamp with black ink and stamp onto cardstock. Ink stamp again with black and lay on table ink side up. Roll brayer across stamp one time. Line the brayer with the bottom of the stamp image. (I turn my cardstock upside down for this) Roll brayer one time. You should have a reflection of the image you stamped on the cardstock. Use sponge to sponge colors in for depth. Embellish as desired.

I hope you get a chance to try this. It is fun for something different to do.