Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011 & Hello 2012!

I was thinking about what I could update my status about that can tell the FB world how I feel about ending 2011, but I had a hard time picking a few sentences that would sum it up. I didn't want to only say "I'm so glad 2011 is coming to an end" or "I'm counting my blessings of 2011" because I know I feel emotion towards both. 

2011 hasn't been as bad as it was in 2010. Being diagnosed is harder than treatment (in my situation.) This past March I finished Big Red & Taxol. I finalized my surgery. We went cross country skiing. Point Loma/San Diego. Camp Pinerock. Visited with NY family. Nevada. Polar Express. Started my own cupcake business & my husband landed the job of our dreams. That sounds like a pretty good year! 

In between those wonderful blessings were some trials. Not only with my family but with my friends. I had to watch my family & friends lives takes some nasty twists & it felt like things would never be the same however those nasty trials has revealed God to still be as Great as I know He is! I have learned so many things. The one thing I can take from this year from my own blessings, trials & of this around me is that God Loves Us & He has a plan that I have learned to trust is so much better than my own. We may never  understand some things but I trust that He will pull us all through. 

My goal (not resolution) for 2012 is to be cancer/chemo free! I want to start my 5 year survival streak. I want to see my husband succeed in all ways. I want health Insurance. I want to joyfully accept age 33 on Feb 1st. I want to celebrate Isaac & Bella's 11th & 8th Birthday. I want to receive my district license at District Assembly as I feel I have worked so hard getting there as I was attending school in between surgery & chemo. And most of all I want to draw near to God & learn so much more! I want to learn to humbly accept the things I can not not change without wavering in my relationship with Him. 

So....wether my goals are met or not, I hope to blog in December 2012 that I learned once again the intensity of Gods love for us! 

Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sand World...

Today was Bella’s first therapy session with her new therapist. I am so thankful that we found her. She is exactly what I want in a therapist. She’s a Christian which is important for us. I wanted to emphasize on why that is so important to us because some people might not understand why.

We believe that Bella’s healing will ultimately come from Christ. We believe that God gives us the gift of having trained people that will assist in getting Bella the best medical care, even if it’s emotional care, not physical. We want someone that understands our faith, our way of healing and our way of allowing Christ in our home. It’s hard (from experience) to work together with someone that does not expect the “bottom line” healing to come from the same person. Our values, our morals, our foundation, our beliefs are those of Christ. I believe that we can better understand Bella, her past, her present and our goals for her future if we are on the same page spiritually. So…with that said, the importance of our therapists faith is an important one.

After the first item on our checklist was crossed off, we wanted to see her credentials which were impressive and we were happy. We got to talk on the phone last week and I felt an immediate connection with her. So we gave it a try and we were happy campers today.

The office was a great environment. She greeted us with her dog Courage (whom Bella is in love with) and offered us a variety of hot drinks on this cold rainy day in Arizona. It was very cozy and welcoming. She asked if we could meet with her first to get some information on Bella. While we were doing that, she put a veggie tales video on for Bella and set her right outside her office door. She made it known to Bella that we were going to meet and that she was leaving the door open a bit so we can still see her. I loved the way she kept reassuring Bella in every decision that she made. She made sure the video was loud enough so that our conversation wasn’t heard, but yet Bella didn’t know the difference and I like that. I like that Bella didn’t feel secluded and sitting outside alone wondering what we were talking about.

When we began our time together she prayed for us and the healing of our family and the healing of Bella. That was SUCH a blessing for us. We continued to talk about some issues in Bella’s past and the anxiety that she is feeling now. I always get choked up when I have to explain what my daughter’s “problem” is. She asked me to tell her about when I was sick on chemo, what my location would be and how I interacted with Bella. Honestly it was hard for me to remember those details, but I did remember lying in bed and always wishing I was out in the living room with my family. Thinking back to those days of intense chemo which followed surgery always breaks my heart. I lost some time with my family and my daughter is paying a price for it which sucks. Cancer sucks. BUT…which I want to emphasize BUT…I am here enjoying them now. Cancer sucks, but I won.

After our conversation, we brought Bella in. The therapist wanted us to have a family session today to “evaluate” us (in my wording) and to get to know Bella with us in the room. So we made a sand world in a huge sand tray. We got to pick items off of her bookcase which varied from animals, furniture, people, objects, nature like things and so on. We carried a basket around and collected all the times we wanted in our world. We couldn’t comment negatively on each other’s items, we just had to accept that they would be included.

So, lets start with Bella’s world. Her world contained a Momma horse and baby horse standing VERY close together. A bunny rabbit, a bird in a nest, a polar bear, a cat and a dog.

My corner of the world consisted of a brown recliner, a side table with a cross on it, a Christmas tree, a cross behind my chair, a dining room table with 4 chairs and a purple gem on the other side of my chair.

Cory’s corner consisted of a Gi Joe shoveling the sand, a fence around him and another GI Joe behind him. He added a helicopter and a plane.

The therapist came over and said “this is an interesting world.” LOL Ya, I would say. We had our own corners which were VERY different and Bella’s stuff interacted with both of our worlds. Her polar bear was even trying to break through the fence that Cory put up.

I had my own idea’s of what Cory’s world represented LOL but I didn’t say anything. Of course on the way home, I asked the question “was the GI boss representing me?” LOL Much to my surprise it didn’t.

The therapist talked through it for awhile and got connected with Bella and where she fit in. She asked Bella if she could be anywhere in this world, where would she go. So Bella got up and picked a purple fairy and set her right next to my recliner. My precious baby. That is all I can say.

Through this I realize now how much Bella fears the loss of me. It breaks my heart. I know it breaks hers. I wish I can tell her not to be afraid but I know that she will remain to feel that way until she realizes that God is in control. I had to come to that realization myself and I know that my 7 year old will have to as well.

This is a great thing for Bella. I am very happy for her that she has the resource for this and I continue to pray for her healing. I want her to branch out. I want her to feel confident without mommy and daddy around. I want her to achieve many things and not to feel anxious. We all want these things for our kids and some come easier than others.

Thanks for your prayers and thank you for stepping into our world and praying for us.


The Bagbys

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hop, skip & A Jump?

Definitely more like Planes, Trains & Automobiles....LOL

Well I wanted to post this as a prayer request. As most of you know we have been Counselor shopping for Bella. The last therapist didn't work out and so we slowly faded away from that. We decided to not tell Bella until after we returned from Nevada and once we returned the conversation still didn't come up. :( My fault but life/Chemo got in the way) but eventually Bella brought it up.

She had an episode the other night which is frustrating because I was just talking to my good friend in TX and she asked me about Bella. I was happy to report that she was doing good, no big issues lately but we have been together a lot so that could be why. She really hasn't had to separate from us. She even did well with the last treatment but probably because I was a cuddle bug, it worked in Bella's favor since she laid with me most of the time I was sick. We even ate lunch and dinner on the couch while Isaac was playing at his cousins house. So she got lots of Mommy time.

However once that ended and life went back to some normalcy the anxiety began. Monday we had some issues during the day and then another at night. She was sticking by my side and there was no way to peel her off. I thought a lot about what the therapist had told us and that was to not force her at this time. As much as I want to force her to do something she is anxious about or even encourage her to give it a try, I also don't want to push her to do anything she doesn't want to. So, I backed off. We had a good conversation about it later on and it broke my heart because when we talked about the anxiety she was feeling and the emotions that went with it, she asked if she can go to therapy. My 7 year old was asking to see her counselor? I knew then, that Bella was making progress before. It was affirmation that therapy was definitely a good thing. Im glad that she recognized the problem and realized that she wanted to work through it.

Through this ordeal, we had some other issues in the past two days and I just see her healing going in the wrong direction so I was on a mission yesterday to find a therapist that I felt connected to.

After a friend of a friend of a friend...and a therapist through a therapist and a therapist I was connected to a Christian Registered Play Therapist Supervisor (one of the few in the state of Az) and she was even on "Focus on the Family" which makes me happy. She has a play therapy dog named Courage and we talked for 45 minutes about Bella's needs and goals and everything in between. I felt very connected to her on the phone and thankfully they have a sliding scale on their fee's and its lower than what we were paying with the other therapist.

The negative? Its not close. Its at least 60 miles away. :( So, we discussed options with Bella's school schedule and which day of the week and I think we have a good game plan. I also decided that I would take this opportunity to make that a special mommy morning date. We will head out first thing Monday morning and be back before her lunch time. This is a sacrifice that we will all have to make, but God has been giving us the resources and guidance on how to approach this and I haven't felt this comfortable since we figured out there was a problem so I know its right.

Im excited to meet our new therapist and to start to see the healing in Bella. For now she definitely needs our prayers. I need to have patience with her and compassion when she feels anxious. Even though I may not understand it I can't get frustrated.  My family & her cousins have been so great with her and I think the more we come together to work towards her healing, the easier it will be for all of us. I'm very thankful for the prayers and support that you give our family through this journey of ours. prayer that I would find a therapist just a Hop, Skip and a Jump away didn't exactly work out...but I rather go the extra mile to feel confident in where we are going. :) When I was diagnosed I said I would drive anywhere to get the care I wanted and I am just going to have to do the same for Bella. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A run for my money....

Well....I just have to say that I am GLAD THIS WEEK IS OVER! I am sitting in my recliner next to one of our 4 trees. The living room lights are out, with the tree shining its bright lights and the fruit loop and popcorn garland bringing me back to my childhood while Cory is sitting near me reading a book,  and I can't help but say...Thank you Jesus for getting me through this crazy week.

As most of you know, I had my triple dose of Herceptin this past Wednesday. I felt like I was hit from left field with no notice. Wednesday night it started by fatigue and leg cramping. Thursday morning I was dragging my body around getting the kids off to school and then I laid on my couch till Cory came home. I worked up enough energy to get a cupcake order put together with the help of my sister. I took some pain meds, took a shower and even conquered our Church Board/Pastoral Dinner at our Senior Pastor's house. I honestly dont remember much because of the medicine and how fogged I was, but I am glad I went. I wasn't much fun but it gave me sanity. On Thursday my sister told me to stay home and just rest. She said that it wasn't worth going because I would be hurting more in the morning. I just cried and told her that it kept my mind sane because I was so side swiped from this treatment and all I can do was bring myself back to my days of Hell. I needed a healthy outlet.

Thursday night Cory got called into work for Friday which would have been his day off. I panicked and my wonderful mom took the day off of work to take care of me. I slept most of the day and she cleaned, cooked breakfast, lunch, put my tree together and took care of the kids. I just laid my little self on the couch and she tended to every need. This was a walk down memory lane FOR SURE!

Saturday I got up, took a shower, put my Super CHemo Girl Cape on and tagged along to go have Breakfast with Santa provided by our Anthem PTA. After my shower I laid on the couch and started to feel dizzy. I pushed myself out the door, ate breakfast with Santa, let the kids shop, while I sat down and watched them pay for their goodies. My sister drove me home, my cape came off, my PJ's went on and off to my cozy seat on the couch I went.

I patiently waited till Cory came home from work which was about 4:30. He walked in, and I just woke up from Nap #...who knows. I told him I wanted to make Chocolate mousse and he looked at me like I was crazy. After watching Food Network for 4 days, I was determined to make something yummy!

So, I did. I got up and made dessert while he made dinner. We had a wonderful family night. I was craving it so bad. I wanted to just have a steak and potato kind of dinner and watch a Christmas movie. And we did. It was perfect. Not a minute after the kids went to bed, I followed their lead.

I woke up today feeling better but still feeling sluggish. This type of sluggish was my body recuperating from the hit it just took. I went to church and then came home and napped and went to our Annual Christmas Banquet. I was back on my feet and feeling myself again.

I realized this morning in my devotion time that I am being used by God even when I don't think I am. I have NO idea why I am going backwards in my treatment but I pray that God uses me through this to inspire someone else.

Cory and I discussed options for chemo as far as going back to weekly treatments, but we both decided to fight through it and get it done quicker by going once every 3 weeks. When you have to choose between 18 or so treatments weekly rather than once every 3 weeks and down for 4 days...and only doing it for 5-6 times more....your mind processes (or at least mine does) that it will be faster.

I now know what to expect. My husband, kids and close family all know what to expect AGAIN....and that will help the treatments go better. We were all side swiped and I think the knowledge of what to expect will help us navigate through it better.

Thank you all for your continued support. Texts, emails, FB, dinner, Starbucks drop off and hugs mean the world to me. It reminds me that I am not forgotten. I am still fighting the fight and need the support!

Thank you for being there for us!

Cheers for a 2 week Chemo free break. I have a lot to get done before I get hit again....:)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Memories that I choose not to reminisce with.

Yesterday I received my chemo treatment. 3 doses in one of Herceptin. For the last 20+ weeks I have been receiving Herceptin weekly (1 dose) . Some weeks I was superwoman and other weeks I was knocked down for a day or two or three. After much discussion last month with my oncologist we decided to try once every three weeks. I agreed to this regime because Herceptin is a low key chemo however I was not reacting as "low key" as normal. I rather get kicked down every 3 weeks as opposed to weekly. (I hate even having the choice actually)

So last treatment, I had my weekly herceptin then a week later I had the 3 in 1. It bothered me at night as far as leg cramping and fatigue but I felt better the next day. I don't know if that was the case because I had treatment the week before so my body was already in "mode" but this time around NOT THE SAME.

I went in yesterday with Cory and got my treatment. 4 hours later we were headed home. We passed a Christmas Tree lot and made the decision to get a fresh Christmas tree since my wonderful $10 15ft tree is falling apart. The nice man tied up the tree to our car and we headed home.

About 15 minutes into the drive, my whole body lost every ounce of energy that I had. I took my top sweater off, made a pillow and snoozed on the way home. I woke up right before we got to our house and Cory asked "are you doing ok" and my response was "no, I feel like it hit me like a ton of bricks"

I walked into the house, got my set up going on the couch with pillows and blankets and just watched my family go on as usual and watched Cory trying to hold the fort together. Bringing in the Christmas tree, homework with the kids and shopping for dinner and making it too.

I just have to say, I HATE laying on the couch with no energy watching my family go on without me. I haven't felt that in such a long time and its a memory that I don't want to live again.

About an hour or so after I got home, my legs were cramping, my bones hurt and I couldn't even touch them because my muscles were so sore. It was only from the waist down. All I could do is rub them gently to help ease the pain. Pain medicine, Phenegran, Aleve and my water was what I needed.

I had my friend Amy come by and chat with me awhile, Hope stopped by so Cory could remove her stitches from her finger and then my sister came by to pick up her kids. About 8pm I got off the couch to walk her out and I walked form my living room to the front room and sat on the stairs. Cory looked at me and said "you don't look so good. You have dark circles around your eyes and your face is pale." Of course I had to get up and look and much to my surprise he was right. I looked like a chemo patient again and I haven't looked like this in a long time. Thank goodness I have hair. That makes a big difference.

We got the kids off to bed and I crawled into bed myself. Cory went for his run and I don't remember much after that. I woke up today, pain free however I am nauseous, headache, super weak and exhausted. With all this comes emotions.

I woke up at 7:30 pushing myself out of bed to get the kids off to school. Of course Bella was anxious this morning just seeing me like this again. They thought it was all done. The moments that I couldn't take care of them were creeping back in.

I kept pushing the kids to hurry up and get ready while sitting on the couch just ordering them around. They finally had everything together, I kissed them goodbye and off they went.

I made breakfast, I put my tray together of books, tissues, meds, waters, cell phone and of course my laptop.

About 10 minutes later I got a call from school saying Bella forgot her backpack. I could not go bring it to her. I didn't have a car and I was NOT walking and so she had to ride back. She knocks on the door, crying of course and we spent some time cuddling and I encouraged her to get back to school. After she left, I just cried my eyes out.

This just sucks. And I feel like this is all new again. But now I know I need to recruit help again. But once again I am back in this boat that I thought I was out of. Its just plain frustrating.

At my appointment yesterday with my awesome oncologist, we had many discussions of what I was dealing with. The lump under my arm is back. It could be from the fact that I just came from a high elevation and my lymph node is inflamed or a cyst. We don't know but she never takes things lightly so we are watching it till next visit. I also talked to her about my recent eye exam. The eye doctor told me that chemo was not the reason behind my lack of focus ability and eye damage. I knew then he was wrong, but I just waited till I talked to my oncologist. I told her I went in for an eye exam and asked her if my eye damage was a side effect from chemo and she said "yes it is". I knew it. I had great eye sight before chemo and it was just too ironic that it went downhill in the past 6 mths. My oncologist told me that it should go back to normal after awhile but my ability to focus is weakening. So my glasses should be here in a week. Just another joy from chemo. 16 months of chemo has its perks....NOT.

Anyway..just pray for me. Pray for quick healing and strength for my emotional side. Thank you for keeping up with me and my blog a year later....