Monday, January 31, 2011

Weekend Update

Let me just say I HATE CHEMO! I HATE CANCER TOO! Its SO OBNOXIOUSLY ANNOYING. I know I have to keep remembering that this is temporary but that is so much easier said than done, especially when you haven't been through it.

This morning, I got up to do Bella's hair for school. As I was doing her hair, I was hunched over and my legs kept giving out and I would catch myself and stand up straight again. Bella responded and said "Mom when are you done with CHEMO" and I said "soon hunny why?" and her response was "I just want you to be normal again." too! I asked her why she doesn't think I am normal, and she stated that she wants to hug me without hurting me, or wants to snuggle when she is sick. That is frustrating for me. We did talk about the summer and that I would be better by her birthday and I will have hair again and even get to buy a NEW SWIMSUIT! YAY! She didn't understand the joys of that, but Cory knew what I meant. LOL

As for my weekend of pain which is still going. This pain is terrible. I tried so hard to describe it to Cory last night, and my best description is when you are in labor, with severe abdominal pain which surrounds your pelvic area and shoots down to your legs and no matter what position you lay in, it doesn't help. There are also sharp nerve like feelings, shooting up and down your legs and lower back. I take Ibprofun, Hydrocodone and Valium and the only thing that gives me about an hour of sanity is the Valium. I have no idea why. My doctor is very "anti-narcotic" but Im very "anti-pain" so whatever works...has to work.

I feel frustrated because this was unexpected. They told me that everyone is different, but on average, it would take 1-2 days for me to start feeling "achy" and it can last btwn 48-72 hours. Well, everyone kept telling me "maybe you wont feel the pain at all" and honestly, Im irritated that I listened. Not that I don't think it can happen, but there should have NEVER been a question of "no pain" it was the fact of "the severity of the pain". Pain is inevitable. ITs the level of pain I would feel. I spoke with other women on the same CHEMO and they were taking more medication than I have been, or it has lasted longer than normal. Yes, everyone is different but bottom line is "it WILL happen"

After chemo last week, I felt tired, but way better than I did on BIG RED. As soon as I came home from BIG RED, I was in bed till atleast Sunday and that was usually pushing it. THis time, I was able to make myself breakfast and do some stuff the day after. I couldn't last for long, but I was able to get out of bed. So, when you go from BIG RED to Taxol and you come home feeling way better than you did on BIG RED, I honestly thought...well maybe I am going to bypass this. STUPID!!!!!! That was just not realistic. I should have (and now I know) planned help better, planned meals better, planed care for my children, my sons bday, my laundry, my work, my housecleaning. The list goes on and on for how I could have made this weekend so much easier. But thank God I have family that drops everything and is here for me. They have been here since Saturday morning and stayed till last night. Doing everything they can to make this as painless as possible. Cory having to work just sucked and having a family party for our bday's was tough. I stayed in bed until the meds kicked in, went into the living room for about an hour, then left the party to go to my room. It sucks. Usually Im on the one hosting, baking cakes, and holding a party together, but not this year. Thats for sure.

Lesson learned. Now I know. What happened this treatment will happen again on Feb 16th and I will have my house in order to help things go smoother.

I go again for CHEMO on Wednesday. I will start getting CHEMO once a week (Herceptin only) NOT TAXOL. Mild CHEMO, 52 weeks, so they are bunching it in now with Taxol to take some time off of it. Its super mild, but the thought of going in again on Wednesday to be poked again, ugh, doesn't sit well with me. Im done, Im over it, I can't imagine going through this pain again 3 more times and I am just irritable. 3 more times might seem like nothing to some, but its something. Alot of something.

Prayer Requests...
*Pain Pain Go Away
*Our Insurance officially ends midnight tonight. I have gotten all of my medications filled so that I will not have out of pocket costs for Feb. Pray that we hit the $6000 in bills to qualify again, and PRAY THAT MY KIDS OR HUSBAND DO NOT GET SICK BECUASE WE ARE UN-INSURED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE.

Anyway, this cranky girl will be in bed once again. Tomorrow is my 32nd Birthday. I better wake up with zero pain.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Taxol & Me

I dont even have the energy to get all deep in my post. I simply want to update you on my health status and the new treatment that I had on Wednesday and ask for prayer.

It was 9 hours of chemo. It was insane. It was exhuasting too. I was so tired and emotionally drained. Wednesday wasn't too bad, just tired, Thursday was Ok, again just tired and weak but no pain. Friday I started to feel "different" I can't put my finger on it, but I think it was just "coming" but I wasn't sure what to feel. I was super emotional and my energry lasted about 20 minutes then I was on the couch. I was able to make Isaac's Bday Cake with the help of my sister who has been by side for the past two days. Im so thankful for her and my family. Taxol is different than BIG RED, but when you are on CHEMO you should NEVER BE ALONE and my family made sure that wasn't going to happen. THANK YOU!

Last night, I started to feel some aches around my abdomen, almost like cramps, which then moved down my legs. I took some ibprofun & my nighty night pill and went to sleep. This morning, its here and I pray it goes away. Today is Isaac's Birthday and I planned a full day. This is where being a mom comes before any pain you are feeling. The thought of leaving my bed and going to take him out for the day makes me want to cry. I already had a meltdown with Cory as he left for work. Cory is working, till 3 and so my mom will be coming with me to help make the day great for Isaac and easy on me.

I just ask for prayer. My heart is for my son right now. I don't want to be the one to ruin it for him. Pray that I can get through this day and provide him with a great Birthday regardless of how Im feeling and pray this pain subsides forever.

Monday, January 24, 2011


I don't even know where to start first. Man, what a great little retreat we had. It was exactly what I wanted. I got my birthday wish with a cabin, fireplace, snow and quality time and Isaac received his wish with snow, skiing, sledding and hot cocoa. LOL.

We drove up Saturday night. We took the "back" way which was SO WORTH IT. Even though it was dark we knew how beautiful it was going to be when we drove back in the daylight. And it was. We could see snow on the ground and tons of tall trees in the distance. When we arrived at the lodge, there was snow everywhere. Jackpot. LOL. We were tired from the drive and a long day in general so we checked in, had some hot cocoa, played a quick game of Rats then off to bed we went.

Sunday morning bright and early we were up. I made pancakes and sausage, nice cup of hot coffee then we geared up for the day. We were out of the cabin by 8:30 to rent our skii's. I dont know if anyone reading this has done cross country skiing before but OMG that is hard work. Through our trail we all had our falls. Bella cried because she was freezing, I was just slowly chugging along, paranoid I was going to fall and Isaac was off like he was at the races. That boy is born to live in the snow. I was determined to be the only one that didn't fall so I can say that the girl on chemo didn't fall. That didn't happen. I didn't fall hard or anything (at this time) but Im going to have to count it as a fall. :/

After a wonderful visit through the trails, we head back to the cabin for lunch and hot cocoa to warm up. Onto sledding which was probably my favorite time of the day. Mostly because we were in the middle of nowhere in the forest in a place that wasn't for sledding, but we loved the hill, and it was just the 4 of us, laughing, falling, throwing snowballs, running up and down the hill and watching Cory rip his jeans was pretty fun too. I took a video of us as Cory was belly down on the sled, and the 3 of us sat on his back. It was great fun. Good laughs.

After that, we went and got our ski's back on and finished out our rental. Since we skii'd 2 hours on the beginner level, we felt we were experienced enough to go on the intermediate trail. Well...lets just say that we didn't even make it to the beginning of the trail. We all fell and at one point I almost was in tears. Isaac skii'd down a hill and I followed not really sure why I didn't wait for him to get out of the way, and I ran into him (after he himself fell) and I fell into him, my knee landing on his ski boot. Cory came over and helped me out, but man that was rough. As I got myself together (still laying on the floor) I look over and Cory biff's it. Gets up...biff's it again, finally just laying on his back and I said "lets go back to the beginner trail" "Good idea he said" LOL

So we did. The sun was starting to set and the landscape was AMAZING! It was so beautiful. Isaac went off on his own, Bella did great with only 4 falls (as she puts it) Cory did great and me? Well lets just say I was EXHAUSTED. I was hurting from my run into Isaac and then I fell two more times on the beginner trail. Well, the last fall, I fell backwards, and landed on my elbows causing some pain to my chest. I put my head into the snow and all emotions came out. LOL I cried and ripped off the ski's and said IM DONE!!! I walked back as the family skii'd. I was so tired, I just became like a toddler when they need a nap. LOL A bit of frustration as I can't keep up as I normally can BUT I did feel like Lance Armstrong for awhile. LOL

We finished up, went back to the cabin and had dinner, apple pie, hot cocoa, played APPLES TO APPLES and Cory and I were in bed by 7:30. I gave up and let the kids watch TV and they fell asleep at 9:00. LOL. During game time, I was so over tired that I got the giggles. Cory referred to me as a happy drunk. LOL. I laughed at everything which made the kids laugh then Cory. It was all around perfect! I LOVED IT!

Earlier on in my blog, I said that I didn't understand the purpose of my CHEMO cancellation. Today I did. God gave my body an extra week. My counts were normal, I had an extra week of energy that I dont normally have, and an extra week of family time that I don't normally have. 3 weeks go by fast, and when you are down for a week, low for two weeks, you are limited. Thank you God for this amazing blessing, for my family, for the snow, for memories and most of all for ENERGY to do it all!

Video of us sledding.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Flagstaff or Bust!

So this past week was emotional but the blessings have been great. Because of my CHEMO cancellation, I got to go to my Jr. High Girl's first Volleyball game on Thursday. They did so great. I was so proud of them. It made me realize two things. #1 I love ministry and building relationships with the girls and #2 I love Volleyball and I AM SO GOING TO ELEV8 with a Volleyball team in the summer. I was debating on it because I don't know how I feel, but I don't care. LOL. Im going. It was so much fun to be back in Anthem, seeing the faces of teachers that I was admiring on a daily basis and shouting GO ANTHEM EAGLES! It was great for me! After the game we went to our school's McDonalds Night which was fun, chaotic, and full of energy. After those two events, my body slowly came to a stop, crashed on the couch and nighty night. Whew...I do NOT have my OLD stamina for sure!

Here is a picture of two of the 8 players. Elisa and Kylee.
Kylee, Amy, Me & Elisa

Below is a picture of some more girls after the game. Annily & Madison

Top Left: Kylee, Elisa
Bottom Left: Madison & Annily

Today I get to participate in the celebration of my best friends parents Judy and Clarence's 50th Wedding Anniversay! What a treat! I can't wait to see the video of 50 years play through. It definitly inspires me to have many more years in my marriage. LOL

After that celebration we are OFF TO FLAGSTAFF for the weekend! Im SO EXCITED. We have our snow gear, sleds, cooler packed and I packed WAY TOO MANY HATS. LOL. My head is cold in my house, can you imagine in the snow? Ahhh.

This little getaway is in honor of Isaac's 10th Birthday that is on Jan 29th and My 32nd Birthday which is Feb 1st. I didn't want to put time, money and energy into two birthday parties (Yes, I ALWAYS have a party) since what I really want is quality time for our family. Its been a rough 6 months and the thought of getting away in a cabin with snow surrounding us, and the fireplace crackling, makes my heart jump for joy. Through this journey I have realized that quality time with my family is so much more important than "stuff". My kids might not understand that now, but they will down the road. These memories will mean more to them, then some crazy chaotic party at a place that charges too much to go on rides that go round and round. LOL

So expect lots of pictures when we get back. Im praying that I don't fall off the sled onto my expanders. LOL. That would be bad. :) But since my chemo extended a week, my counts are up, Im as normal as I can be and I feel good. Snowball fights HERE WE COME!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It wont get any more REAL than this!

I was informed today that my blog hasn't been the same as it use to be from a few people. Staying clear from being real. Letting people get inside my head. This was all lacking at some extent. I guess my entries have been more "entry" than "journaling". So, this is the perfect day to journal. Get ready, because it can't be anymore real than today.

Lets go back to last night. I want you to imagine the movie "Steel Magnolias." If you haven't watched it. At the end Sally Fields loses it! Not just crying and yelling. I mean, she LOST IT!!! If you have seen it, then you know exactly what I mean.

Before I start, let me just say that on Monday I had a cyst like thing make a home on my shoulder/back area. I haven't blogged about it, mostly because its gross. Call it a cyst, a pimple, a boyle, whatever! It doesn't belong there. One thing about CHEMO is that you forget what your body on the inside is going through because I can function on the outside. So on Monday, I didn't call the doctor because I had it under control. It got worse, red, and SORE. (Good control I had right?) Cory suggested calling and I said "I'll just see her on Wed." Well this brings me to Tuesday night where it was painful enough that I couldn't wear a bra or anything that rubbed on it, couldn't sleep on that side and so on.

Okay, so Tuesday night after youth group, Cory and I finally make our way to the couch to watch Parenthood. I must have leaned on my "cyst" and said "ouch" and we started talking about the possibilities of maybe an infection. I instantly went into panic mode. I kept asking Cory questions and through a conversation, it turned into a slight argument on wether I should call the doctor to ask her what I should do. It was now 11pm and I was going to see her in 9 hours. I said "No way, I am NOT calling her." After that heated conversation, we agreed we had a long day ahead of us, and bedtime was calling our name.

Oh...wait let me back up again. Before our way to the couch, I went upstairs to kiss the kids goodnight and Bella confessed to me that she makes herself sick because she worries about me too much. She cried, I cried and we prayed. She cried through the whole prayer and told me that she just doesn't know how to NOT worry about me. I assured her that its not her job to worry, she's only 6 and God will take care of us. here comes anxiety for my new chemo treatment, my daughter making herself sick worrying about me, my cyst obviously showing signs of infection and then I make my way to the bathroom to find out that my little monthly friend came. Now this might sound like "no big deal" but I wont go into details, but its a BIG DEAL to have this on the day of your chemo. I walked out of the bathroom as Cory is laying on the bed, I started slamming cabinet doors, shouting words that shouldn't have been shouted and then BROKE! I sobbed like a baby. My husband came into the bathroom and he just held me. I was crying and yelling, and cursing and angry, and bitter, and worried and frustrated and sad. I was crying because I want to throw in the towel. I was yelling because I felt like God wasn't hearing me. I was cursing and angry at the fact that I have this stupid thing called CANCER!!! Im bitter that I got picked. Im worried that CANCER will come back and I don't know it. I am frustrated that I can't do the things that I want to do. And mostly Im sad, because CANCER no matter what card has the best saying, has taken so much from me. It has taken my energy. My breasts. My hair. My health. A piece of my family time. A piece of my marriage.

It has taken away opportunities that mean so much to me. Ministry for instance. I want so badly to "move up" in my ministry career so I decided to take some classes. I was screaming last night that I am TOTALLY IN OVER MY HEAD. I have an opportunity to go to San Diego for a preaching seminar on a campus that I long to be on, long to see my kids attend with the Pastoral staff that I respect so much. AM I CRAZY FOR GOING OUT OF STATE AT A TIME LIKE THIS?

My daughter has anxiety at 6 years old? What did I miss? Do I tell her too much? Does she see too much fear in my eyes?

I have this stupid cyst that should have been called in the first sign of it. Im not a normal being. Im on CHEMO. My body doesn't heal the way yours does. Why was I so stupid and stubborn to call?

So many people around me are getting cancer, and I have tried my best to be a rock, but when I hang up the phone after encouraging them I fall to my knees in anger and disbelief. Angry that more people are infected by this and shocked that I am actually giving advice in this area.

I was shaking, through all these tears and shouting and Cory dragged me over to my nightstand and handed me my sleeping pill. Then I realized. Wow!!! What has happened to my normal life? I sat there and cried some more, Cory just held me not really knowing how to respond, expect to get on our knees and pray and we did. I look up and its 1am. I have to be up at 6 to get my kids up and ready so we can be in Chandler at 8am.

The explosion of emotions came to an end and 20 minutes later, my pill has set in and I fade into lala land.

6am Cory gently pats me to get up. I roll over just to be reminded of this painful thing I have on my back and I groan and get out of bed with an amazing amount of anxiety in my stomach. An hour later, we have the kids ready, lunches packed, chemo bag packed and we are out the door.

I walk into my Oncologists office and see the nurse for them to draw my blood. She asks the famous question. "How are you" so I kindly said "Im ok" and Cory said "She's lying". The nurse looked at me, my eyes welled up and I said "well, physically Im ok I think, but emotionally, I think Im pretty bad." She did exactly what she is supposed to do. Encourage me, give me a pep talk and remind me that I am almost to the end. After the blood work, I head into the room to wait for the doctor and I had a list of questions, concerns and fears written down. She came in and said "How are you" and I took a deep breath and said "well, physically I think Im ok, but emotionally Im a mess" and Cory piped in and said "She has a cyst on her back that we need you to look at" so the doctor patted the table and said "Hop on". So I did and she looked, she touched for awhile and said "Ok, you need antibiotics because its obviously infected and the bad part? No chemo today" There the tears roll again. I look over at my husband and was reminded of our night and how much anxiety I just went through, I worked myself up for the CHEMO and here it was. Nope....not today.

Do you know what its like to mentally prepare yourself to get injected with a poison in your body but yet kills cancer to its death? Try preparing yourself to get into a car accident where you know you are going to be laid up for awhile. Not an easy task.

She reminded me that I could be in the hospital if we do not get this cyst gone and healed from my body. CHEMO with this thing on my back is NOT OPTIONAL. So, Im on antibiotics, I have to go in on MOnday for her to check on it and will determine if I have to go in to have it drained, then we can see if Chemo on Wed is reality.

I left her office, barely walking, barely keeping my eyes open. I was exhausted. I just walked out with my head down, Cory holding me and walking in dissapointment.

My first and foremost frustration is that we have scheduled to take the kids up to Flagstaff to play in the snow and stay in a cabin for Isaac's bday celebreation and mine as well, since our bday's are so close to eachother. That getaway was next weekend. The weekend of my new chemo. Skiing, sledding, snow ball fights is NOT an option right after CHEMO. I refuse. So after much thought, we are going to go this weekend, pull the kids from school on Monday and be together the way we NEED to be right now.

ONe thing I refuse to do is to be angry with God even though my initial reaction is to wonder? God...why? I can't do it. It's not in me but Im angry. Im angry at the situation. Cory reminded me of how I have encouraged so many people through my journey. Well, I hope you aren't reading this when you need to be encouraged because I'm not the encourager right now unfortunatley.

Prayer seems like the right request but I honestly don't even know what to pray for at this point. Today was rough. This blog is real. Yes, throwing the towel in at this point sounds like a great idea but I know its not realistic.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Tiny bit of Anxious

So tomorrow I start my Taxol. I have had this fear that I am going to be laying in bed, rolling around moaning from pain. That is the image I have in my head because its new and I don't know what to expect. I keep taking deep breaths and resting assured that God has me in His hands and will heal me from the pain that I have, if any.

I've been anxious about my future with cancer lately. As you know, I never got my petscan done before chemo so they can get a full picture of my whole body to see if there was anything else wondering around. The machine broke halfway through the process and I didn't have enough time to reschedule becuase my chemo started a few days later. My doctor wasn't worried about it because my cancer had not spread to my lymph nodes. Cancer takes that track when you have breast cancer. I remember in the beggining I would ask my breast surgeon for all these kind of tests and she told me, that the chances of cancer skipping the nodes and moving to your lungs is just not realistic. THat is the track it takes. So...that is what I hold on to. But when I hear stories of women that had breast cancer, and months or years later, go back in for other issues just to find out it spread, I panic. I immediately go into fear mode. I think that is natural but not healthy.

So I ran into my friend today and she reminded me that instead of worrying about the cancer somewhere else, hold onto that promise that my lymph nodes weren't infected. It was like God hit me over the head. I need to stop worrying and start PRAISING HIM that my lymph nodes WEREN'T infected! What am I doing? Songs of Praise! That is what I should be doing. I immediately felt peace for that promise. But a peace from God, that is so much better than a doctor's word.

So after my run in, I came home to do my devotional. This is kind of late for me to start it as I normally do it in the morning, but after I dropped the kids off I came back home, laid down and before I knew, it was 11:30. LOL Wow! What a treat. Im glad I waiting because I needed my day to go just as planned. As I sat here eating my lunch I prayed and asked God, to please speak to me through my devotion today. I need to hear Him. And so He did.

I have a devotional that is incorporated into my bible and its different stories of woman who had cancer and the spiritual journey that they were or are on. So I opened up to Day 12 and the title was Crucified with Christ. I was alittle bit dissapointed that it didn't say "Fear before CHemo" or "Facing our Fear" LOL...I was expecting an immediate message from God, but once I read on, there it was.

It was a story about a lady who was crying after her masectomy. Her nurse came in and they started talking about God and how the lady believed that as she was being wheeled into the surgery room, she was in God's Chariot. She climbed in, and her loving Father reminded her of all His great promises as they rode on in.

So the nurse and her talked for awhile and the nurse told her this.

"During a mastecomy the patients arms are spread horizontally like Jesus' were on the Cross of Calvary. She felt it was a unique identification with Christ. Later on, the woman was hit by Paul's message in Galations 2:20 that says "I have been crucified with Christ" So In essence I am laying my desires, my thoughts about what is best, and my dreams at the Cross. My life is no longer about me, but about my faithful, sovereign God."

I started to cry, because I pictured myself laying on that table on September 17th arms spread horizontally like Jesus, and that fact that I laid my desires out to him, my fears, my trust in the doctors, my anxieties, and my dreams of this being a BIG STORY and not a death sentence. All of it was laid out on the table that day, and I have to continue to do so everyday. I remember when my breast surgeon called me to congratulate me that my lymp node tests came back negative. I kind of smiled and said thanks with hesitation because I didn't think the word congratulations fit any type of breast cancer patient. I had NO IDEA what that meant at the time. I do now. I do deserve a Congratulations.

And so I realize. Jesus went through pain. He was afraid the night before he was crucified but He knew that He had to go through that, but that God would be faithful and true as He promised. I have to do the same. As I am about to endure something new, I have to remember to keep this fight that I have and keep on trucking through. Pain or no pain. I want to be cancer free. I never want this to come back. So....there is no going back. I can only go forward from here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Ahhh, I really don't know where to start. This past week has been an emotional one and still is. Some exciting things are happening, and some emotional ones too. I guess I will start with the exciting.

Ministry is expanding in my heart and I have never been in love with working for Christ more than I have been in the past 6 months. Cancer really put a new light on ministry for me. I have always loved being in ministry over the past 12 years but lately it's been different. Maybe because Im different? I don't know, but its my passion and I have a great desire for it. God has been giving me more ministry opportunities than just Jr. High. Through cancer He has brought some pretty amazing people in my life that I have been able to share my story with. I am not only growing daily in my walk with God, but also in my path as a leader. As I have announced before, I got my local Pastoral license, and I am now officially working on my district license starting Feb 7th. Im overhwhelmed with how exciting it is. Im a bit scared to take on this responsibility at a time like this, but I need it. Im getting some great opportunties to be surrounded by Pastors and seminars, and classes during my "good" weeks which are so helpful for my mind. Sitting in bed for 3-4 days at a time after treatments really get you down emotionally. I can NOT WAIT until the beginning of next year when I will be licensed by the district and have finished my CHEMO! WOOT WOOT! A whole new chapter in my life that I can not wait to start, however I am trying to enjoy what God is doing with me right now and not rushing through it. (minus the chemo part) LOL

So, there is the the not so good. Physically/Emotionally Im struggling a bit. Physically I have had some challenges that I am trying to cope with. Sores in my mouth (magic mouthwash which is terrible) and an irritating scalp as my hair attempts to grow back but gets knocked down by the treatments. Fatique is been challenging. About 1-2pm each day my body crashes. Sometimes I listen and I lay down, sometimes I keep going which then turns into a tear fest before bed. Thats when my nighttime meds come in hand. :) My expanders are starting to bug me. I cancelled my appointment with my plastic surgeon because Im not ready to get another fill. I think that hematoma did more damage to me emotionally than physically. I hate to get fills and I am SO READY for the final surgery. But I have to get some more. Im hoping just one more and Im done. I want the implants and I want my port now. :) But...I can't. Not for awhile. LOL A long while.

Emotionally. LOL. Well....I am emotional. LOL I start my new chemo drug called Taxol. With Taxol comes a bit of pain. Less nausea but bone pain. Im NOT ready for it. I don't think one can be ready for it. But I don't like the sound of the word pain, I don't like the process my doctor told me about for this drug and simply put, Im scared. Im scared of the result, Im scared of my new pattern, Im scared of my reaction, Im scared, scared, scared. I've been praying HARD for this treatment to be as easy breezy as possible. I was hit hard with BIG Red but mostly by fatique. I'll take that over pain ANYDAY. So, as this weeks creeps into my treatment next Wednesday, I begin to get more and more anxious. Cory has been a great support to me and my friends/family too. I need lots of prayer on Wednesday so that I may have peace, I may not have an allergic reaction, that my counts are up and that I feel minimal pain. Simply put.

Im trying to keep myself busy lately and to keep moving on. Someone told me today that I am their hero. LOL...I responded with "I don't feel very heroic." I feel like a wimp. A cry baby. A weak spirit. But I am aware of where that is coming from and I have to remember how much God has carried me through. Some pretty intense stuff. I think about the day that I am CHEMO free, and do you know that it actually scares me? My life has been turned upside down, I feel anxious when I think about it going back to "normal". I know my old normal will never be the same, but after 18th mths of CHEMO how do I go back to my normal life? It may sound easy to do,  but it almost feels like an emotional attachment. Does that make any sense? I will be singing victory (especially after Taxol since my hair will start growing back and I am SO DOING SOMETHING FUN & PURPLE WITH IT. Get ready Sarah) but after Taxol I will have 52 weeks of chemo left. Mild, only 30 minutes, hair grows back, side effects are very minimal and implants will go in. Crazy to think about it. To think about being closer to the end of this journey that I will NEVER want to go down again. I pray I never do. I have done everything to keep my chances below 5% of that happening. It better work. :) I have kids to raise, a husband to love and Jr. Highers that need Jesus.

Anyway, that is where I am at today. Lots of stuff, lots of emotions and lots of thoughts running through my head.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Grill 4 Gabbee Sweepstakes

Hey Everyone! Team Gabbee Fundraiser is kicking off this week!! My awesome American Family Insurance Agent Ty Schraufnagel is sponsoring 
"Grill 4 Gabbee Sweepstakes!"

I am selling raffle tickets for a chance to win a BRAND NEW "Beef Eater Discovery Series BBQ w/Grill Cover"

Tickets are 1 for $5.00 or 5 for $20.00. All proceeds will benefit our family!

Drawing will be March 5th @ 2pm
The Ty Schraufnagel Agency
Open House 10am-3pm
American Family Insurance
1280 N. Arizona Blvd, Coolidge, Az
"Need not be present to win"

If you would like to purchase raffle tickets please see me as I will have them on hand, or email me and I will get them to you.

As you know, we are always looking for ways to raise money during this journey and the financial burdens that come with it. In advance we appreciate all of your financial contributions over the past 6 months!! God has been so good and has always provided!

May the Lord Bless You!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Im going home!!!!

I just realized I haven't updated in a few days, so I was excited to update that I get to go home tomorrow!!! Yay! Praise God! I woke up feeling very cranky and emotional so I called my doctors and they gave me the ok to go home, but I still needed to avoid contact with Bella until her last few pox scap over. She's close, she might even be scabbed by the morning.

 Not that I don't love my sister, but there is no place like home. There is no sound as sweet as your own children. There is no place like your own bed and your own routine. I have missed my husband and kids so much. Tonight we took a ride and had dinner in the park, had hot cocoa and I hugged my husband and Isaac. (Still need to keep my distance with Bella) but I blew her tons of kisses.

As we were riding around in the golf cart, Isaac and Bella were talking in the background and I said to Cory "Oh man how I missed those voices"

Keeping me away from home is pure torture for me. Its just not right. My place is to be in my home.

So, my house is being cleaned by my cleaning lady AKA my 12 year old niece and Cory is washing sheets and blankets and then I am COMING HOME. Do you know my plan for tomorrow night? Sitting on the couch, maybe playing some Wii and watching a movie. Then after the kids go to bed, I am going to cuddle with my husband in my comfy bed.


P.S. I have some exciting news coming soon. Look out for it!
P.S.S. I also have a big fundraiser Kicking off next week. I will be emailing out information on how to support Team Gabbee. Hint...(BRAND NEW GAS BARBEQUE UP FOR RAFFLE)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Update On Our CRAZY life

Well yesterday was another interesting day. Cory took Bella to the pediatrician and because of the controlling wife/mom that I am, my wonderful husband texted before he saw the doctor and said "Text me any questions you might have for Dr. Martin, incase I forget." Sooooo brilliant me said "why don't you just call me when he gets in the room and put me on speaker phone" Ahha! :) So he did. Im not sure Cory talked much during the doctor visit even though he was there. LOL Yes..that's something I need to work on, BUT when you take a mother out of her environment it's very hard NOT to be in control. :)

Anyway, Cory and I had a lengthy conversation (well I did LOL) with the Doctor on the risk for me, the length of time we should expect for Bella, the option for the booster shot, her anxiety level, her timidness, the fact that Cory hasn't had the chicken pox, Isaac being at risk and.....then I got yelled at by my doctor because I thought I was sounding like a great mom telling him I spent a lot of money on disenfecting stuff for her room and was tearing it apart but I had gloves on and a mask and all I heard was "Gabbee, I have been your doctor for 10 years, you better stop being stubborn and take those gloves off and GET OUT OF HER ROOM". I think that is the only time I heard Cory's voice as he laughed and said "yup, that is my wife". So I kindly apolgozied for being a MOM LOL and said I was leaving the room right away.

Overall the conversation was good. We got great information for both me and the kids. My oncologist was able to tell me to seperate because of the risk factor being in my low week and although I already had the chicken pox, my immune system is so low, I can get them again and well...that could be bad. My pediatrician was able to give me details on how contagious chicken pox was, the fact that its airborne and that EVERYTHING she touches is infected. So no matter how much stuff I buy, it wouldn't work to keep us both in the same house, even if I followed her around with a clorex wipe. :) The other thing was the thought of getting the booster shot for them, however the booster is a LIVE virus and I can't have that around me....SOOOOOO bottom line was "move out". I kicked and screamed and pouted and said that I felt like I was seperating from my husband and we weren't even fighting. LOL Cory said he could do something to make me mad if that made it easier. LOL

But I packed up my things, Cory took the rest of the week off (which is another stress because he doesn't have that much paid vacation time) and off I went. Before I left the house I sat down with Cory and whined a bit about leaving. He truly had a fear in his eyes for me, which helped me make my decision easier to go. He said "the thought of what could happen to you stresses me out and I can't do this alone, so I NEED you to stay healthy". He was right. He then took a deep breath and grabbed his chest. "Panic attack Cory"? He just simply rubbed his face and said "just alittle". :/ (Im not going to lie, in my head I was thinking that we need $6000 for a spenddown to get qualified for insurance, so panic attack isn't such a bad thing. LOL) J/K.

Anyway here we are again. Stressing over this stupid thing called cancer. Me moving out of the house, loss of more pay, the worry of Isaac or Cory getting the chicken pox (Isaac was vaccinated but obviously that statisic doesn't matter and Cory never had them) and me being out of the home when I should be there for my children. That is my job as a mother, that is the vow that I made to my husband and that is where my comfortable bed is. :( (Sorry Lisette)

But, I can't worry about the loss of pay because God ALWAYS provides, I can't worry about if Isaac or Cory gets chicken pox because God WILL protect and I can't worry about being out of the home, out of my normalacy because God has given me a safe, comfortable place to be and I talk to my children and husband everyday, twice a day, three times a day. I get to pick Isaac up from school, Im going on a date with my husband tonight and then we are going to see Isaac compete in Battle of the Books tomorrow at school. I will be home again. Yes it sucks sleeping w/out my husband, yes it sucks to see the text pictures that Cory sends of Bella's new chicken pox spots and hearing how itchy she is, but Cory told me last night that the kids had a good night, Bella is in good spirits and Isaac just says the darnest things. (He doesn't want to read his new DIary of the WImpy kid book because it might mess up his head for the battle of the books competition) LOL. I love HIM!  I will gladly sacrifice my comfort zone and my wants so that my daughter is in her own home, with her Daddy that loves her just as much as I do and (this a direct quote from Bella) she is going to make it her "goal" to watch every princess video on tape before she gets better. LOL....I love her.

So...once again the Bagby family is C R A Z Y....but I love us, I love my family and I love our support system. I couldn't IMAGINE doing this alone.

Thank you Cory for being a great, selfless father and husband. Im blessed.
Thank you Lisette for being the best sister EVER and allowing me to just invade your home, cook for me, do my laundry and make my sheets all fluffy and downy soft smelling.
Thank you friends for listening to me whine and cry through it all.
Thank you blog readers for praying for us, supporting us and always encouraging us when we need it.

I simply would and could not do CANCER without you.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Chicken Pox & Prostate Cancer

So let me start off by begging for a big prayer request. In the midst of my household chaos, my mom called me to inform me that my stepdad Joe has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. As you can imagine I was in total shock. Even as a cancer patient, I had no idea how to respond to my own mother. All I could say is I love you. Here is the update on him. First, I want to say that his faith is admirable. When I spoke to him on the phone, I was in awe with the peace that he felt and the comfort he was feeling from Christ. Thank the Good Lord, his cancer was caught early and is in the early stages. He has some good options in line for treatment. Right now the biggest prayer request is his bone scan next week. We are praying that God paralyzes the cancer in its spot. That is my main prayer request. It has been a rough year for my mom. Her stepdad passing, her mom passing, my cancer, and now Joe. I just pray that the strong women I know she is prevails through this. We are SO DONE being attacked!!!

Moving on. This morning I noticed Bella had a scap on her scalp as I was brushing her hair. I checked it out thinking it was lice. LOL She said it was itchy, but I didn't think anything of it. Today I picked her up from school and she had two red spots on her face. One on her forehead, the other on her eyebrow. I touched them, feeling around and thought OH CRAP!!! I took her home, put on some gloves stripped her body and what do you know? Nothing else but chicken pox!!! GRUGH!!!!!!!!!! I have so many words in my vocabulary that I wanted to use. Why does this keep happening when I am going into my "low" week which is in two days!!!!!????

So I called the pediatrician and got her an appointment tomorrow at 10:00am. I was super anxious on the response I would get from my oncologist. I wasn't too concerned about Bella, but I had this weird feeling that my whole life was about to turn upside down. I did have the virus when I was a kid so I had some hope hanging on that. Yes, Bella was vaccinated and so was Isaac. Cory has never had the pox nor vaccinated. (I was reminded of that this evening) GRUGH AGAIN.

So I call the oncologist and spoke to the chemo nurse. She got all the information and was going to talk to the doctor. She called me back, and said Doctor wants either you to leave the house if possible, or Bella but its not safe for you to be in the house with her. Even though I had the pox as a kid, I still have a chance because my immune system is so low. If I bypassed the pox and got a "virus" since kids have colds, fever along with the pox, Im going into my low week (Wednesday) I will have no infection fighting cells to back me up and a virus is a lot harder to treat than an infection. So bottom line...SEPERATE. I did call back and ask her if she felt comfortable if I isolated myself in my bedroom while my husband takes his vacation time and stayed home to care for Bella. It wasn't her first choice but she said if I stay away and have no contact, then she was ok. Im still torn.

As I was getting this phone call from my doctor, that is when I received the call from my mom about Joe. My head literally was spinning. Not only now am I emotionally exhausted from all this, but I have been in bed all day still recovering from chemo. Im getting better each day, but my body just can't handle all of it.

My sister came here, cooked dinner, provided emotional support, my 12 year old niece was the BOMB and helped cook dinner too, took care of Bella and tended to our every need. I love her. I stayed in the other room, popping valium LOL (only 1) and eating chocolate cookies. A bit later my mom and Joe stopped by and we just sat around laughing. Joe with prostate cancer, my poor mother has been beaten up, my sister struggling, Bella with chicken pox, me and my bald head and my husband trying to soak it all in. At a time like this, we might say "God where are you" but we weren't. We were all praising God and Thanking Him for the life we have and the answers to prayer we have received. I can't tell you why this is happening. I don't really care, all I care is to get on my knees and PRAY PRAY PRAY that it stops.

But we weren't done yet. As everyone left, and I laid on the floor from complete exhaustion I told Cory I was heading into my isolation room till tomorrow till we can figure out what to do. Isaac goes into the shower, Cory followed me down into the bedroom, I got on my facebook, Cory got on his phone and I hear a scream from upstairs. I ignored it thinking it might be the TV. Next I heard "Daddy, please come!" So we both ran up the stairs. Where did I get that energy from, I have NO IDEA! We get upstairs to find Isaac in fetal position from pain, of slipping in the shower, catching his toenail in the drain, tearing it off, but yet still hanging on by a thread. I fall to my knees on the stairs yelling "Jesus, please rid Satan from my household" as Cory is calling out to me to get gauze pads. I run downstairs, get the stuff, hand it off, then callopse on the floor once again. I can't help but get back up to console my son as Daddy wraps his toe. Its amazing what mothers can do even when they think they have NO ENERGY.

We all went downstairs after he was calmed down and we got in a circle (no hands and I had a mask) and I prayed for our family. It felt so good to feel peace. After we said Amen, Isaac says "whats happening to our family" LOL.

As I sit here and ponder this terrible evening, I feel guilty dwelling in the bad. God has brought me through Parvo disease, bronchitis and I know he can pull me through chicken pox. I trust in the Lord that Joe's cancer has not spread and we will be a God story once again.

Will you pray with me?

Physical Touch

So in my last post I talked briefly about a "word" that I was going into 2011 with. I don't really want to concentrate on cancer because I don't want that to define every ounce of me. I have realized lately that its not working when I allow it dictate every part of my day. Although I need my healing time after treatments, I don't want to keep looking into the future and see the word CANCER blinking in my face. It's easier said than done but when Cory first approached me with this idea, I thought, peace, comfort, joy as I was trying to find these things in the next year through this trial. But as I pondered it, I realized that I already have those things. LOL. Maybe at seperate times but by the blessings of the Holy Spirit, I am able to receive those. So, I came up with something that I struggle with on a normal basis, but even more so since cancer. Physical Touch. Those who know me, know that word makes me cringe. I have no idea why. Maybe because my family isn't all that touchy feely. We never were. Cory can be, but because I am not, he unfortanetly has backed off. I hate the thought of that.

Yesterday I pushed myself HARD to go to church. I decided to go about 30 minutes before service started. I walked in, sat down and could barely hold my head up. I couldn't serve communion because I can barely stand, let alone hold a cup and plate and speak. LOL. Singing was a struggle so I knew that I needed to sit this one out. I sat most of the time during worship which was actually a nice treat to just sit and be still. I love being able to listen to God's word through song and really engage in the meaning. Im VERY thankful I went because the sermon was exactly what I needed to hear and was the perfect timing in my life through chemo and for my marriage.

Let me back up a bit. I have been struggling with physical touch ever since I can remember, but I want you to add in a double masectomy and chemotherapy into it, and you can imagine how it can snowball into an isolated situation. I have had many thoughts these past few weeks of how blessed I am that Cory is my husband. He loves my bald head, my crazy hats that I wear around the house, he loves me through the surgery process, through chemo and yesterday he says he loves me more now than before. But as a women, a wife, you don't want to be content with that. I want to honor my husband and not be so wrapped up in self pity. I talked to my oncologist about my issues and fears and she was WONDERFUL as I knew she would be. Just encouraging and kept reminding me of how temporary this is. forward to Sunday's sermon. After hearing Kevin preach God's word in 1 Peter, I realized my role as a wife (once again). I love Cory and I want to love him back especially more now than before, because he has shown me unconditional love so much in the past 6 months. Last night we were sitting on a couch in our room and I told him that "Physical Touch" is my word (words) for 2011. He responded with a smile of course LOL but he said something to me that made me want to put him on even a higher pedestal. He told me that the sermon reminded him how much he loves my inner beauty, especially seeing me go through this journey and the strength I have. I kind of laughed and took off my hat and said "thats good, because I don't have much to offer on the outside" but his response? "I actually love you bald, I say you should keep it" HaHa...not happening, but I appreciate him. Anyway, we had a great time of just sitting and talking and being close which I normally shun away. But with my new vow I have to suck it up and embrace the closeness of my spouse.

1 Peter 1:1-7 (The Message)

1-4The same goes for you wives: Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition.

4-6Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way, and were good, loyal wives to their husbands. Sarah, for instance, taking care of Abraham, would address him as "my dear husband." You'll be true daughters of Sarah if you do the same, unanxious and unintimidated.

7The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God's grace, you're equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don't run aground.

Im excited to enter into this whole new world of Physical Touch that I am so not comfortable with. Now...for my friends..(Carla) this doesn't mean I want a hug all the time HAHAHA....but I will try not to cringe when I am knee to knee with someone. :)

I anticipate my blog in 2012 when I look back at my progress as one who likes to hug, get back rubs or snuggle on the couch. :)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Im not really sure what to blog except IM TIRED!!! Fatique this time around is TERRIBLE. I have literally been in bed (minus the field trips to the couch for family time) since Wednesday. The last two treatments I have had some muscle pain. It doesn't last more than a day or so, but very tender to the touch around my neck, shoulders and arms. Super weird. Nausea is as normal as it has been. Nothing worse, nothing better. My appetite has decreased. Im not craving food as much as I was the last 3 treatments. (I gained 7 pounds since my last treatment) Im just so tired to eat or drink. Cory is watching my liqued intake cause I will dehydrate myself if noone is watching. It may sound crazy, but the thought of turning your body over, reaching to the end table to lift a glass or bottle of water and bringing it to your mouth is exhausting and I can probably fall asleep just thinking of it.

I just finished my shower and did some Mary Kay on my face so that I don't look as crappy as I feel. Im hoping to make it to church tomorrow but if I had to go right now, I think my chances are slim. Im hoping for lots of energy in the morning.

My eyes have been very sensitive to light. Not sure why, but my vision has been blurry and light is very bright to me. Thats a bit annoying.

New Years was not too bad. I tried to stay awake but that didn't happen. My poor sister was the only one up I think. I was in the living room and heard everyone count down. I think I counted down in my sleep or maybe I was in real life, LOL but I don't remember much.

I've been a real grouch to my husand and kids and need to get some restoration and apologize. Laying in bed for days, Im just so miserable I guess I want to make everyone around me miserable. My family is bending over backwards for me, and its just not fair for me to treat them that way. :( So family..if you are reading this before I get to you. Im sorry for being a grouch.

So I never make New Years Resolutions simply because I never keep them and they are too cliche for me but Cory heard of something a bit different so I think Im going to try it. I need to think of a word that I want to concentrate on this year. A word that will change me or my way of thinking or doing. For example "listening", my goal would be to be a better listener in my friendships, relationship with God, my marriage, etc.... Since I am SUCH A GREAT listener, (yes, my family is shouting out "Yeah right") Im still thinking about another word. Im thinking somewhere along the line of peace, or to be still. I just dont have it yet, but will.

2011 is here and I will have chemo until the beginning of the new year in 2012. Its a long road. 2011 will bring me 4 months of Taxol, a year long of "mild" chemo and surgery once again. That is what is in the plan anyway.

If you asked me on Jan 31st 2009 what I would be doing on Jan 31st 2010 I wouldn't have said "recovering from chemo" again I am reminded that God is in control, He has our life in His hands, and I will just do what I can to be His hands and feet.

God Bless and Happy New Year.