Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

On Chemo treatment 9 (6 to go) it took 4 tries to get a good IV going. Three different nurses tried, one of the tries left a big swollen bruise. At the end of the treatment, Nurse Toni discussed my getting a port inserted. Jessica had heard of it before and was all for it. Toni put in a request to the doctor, it was approved and set up for today at the hospital.
Bright and early this morning, Debbie took me to St. Agnes Hospital for the outpatient surgery. I took a refreshing nap and I woke up with a port installed below my right collar bone. Now my IVs and blood draws will be taken from this little two door spot without stressing out my hand veins. The port can last a year. I recommend getting a port to people starting out on Chemo therapy, I wish I’d done it weeks ago. This link will tell you about the mediport:

Good News Monday

Monday, June 29
I like my Monday Chemo days. I get to meet with my doctor and she gives me good news. Monday’s good news was that the IGA spike (that is the peak of the graph of the bad protein in my blood) is no longer a spike, but is flat. That means the Chemo treatment has done what it is supposed to do. (This is treatment 11; 5 to go.) The doctor was very pleased. I am sure it is the result of all the prayers being delivered daily! I’m looking forward to the meeting with Dr.Wolf (July 14) to see what that means for future treatments and prognosis.
George and I are back in Fresno and it’s the hottest week of the summer so far. That means the weather at Huntington Lake is perfect now that we’re gone! I had a good time there and felt productive. I didn’t accomplish as much as I did last year, but considering my physical state, I did pretty well. Our last full day there George and I took a walk and located an eagles’ nest and a prolific crop of wild iris; two awesome discoveries.

Table for Six - Thursday June 25

The spacious “Atrium Clinic” has its size limits. Jullie was my transport down the mountain for therapy today and my quilting friends wanted to get together with her too. Cindy hosted lunch for Jullie and me. We were soon joined by Mark,who had heard so much about our Forest Service Quilter friend, that he wanted to meet her. Maggie and Jennifer O. showed up with their sack lunches. So six of us were dining in the clinic! We had folding chairs gathered around a TV tray. Fortunately it was a slow day. The nurses maintained their kind, friendly, demeanor, and only reminded us a few times to keep the aisle-way clear. If I have to do Chemo therapy, my friends sure do make it fun!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Over the Hump

Today was the first treatment of the second half of my chemo therapy plan. That means 6 weeks down, 6 weeks to go. Today I've had 9 treatments and have 7 to go. My doctor says my blood numbers look good. My shingles have "cleared," but I still have the lingering pain. Doctor says to up my pain meds to manage that pain. We discussed the upcoming (7/14) visit with Doctor Wolf at UCSF and she assured me that he is tops in his field. "He writes the research papers that other doctors read," is what my doctor says. Another doctor, who is visiting Lakeview Cottages this week, confirmed that the work happening at UCSF is cutting edge. I feel good about that vote of confidence.

My friend, Jullie, who works at the High Sierra Ranger Station on Kaiser Ridge, took me to Fresno for my treatment today. We left Huntington Lake at 9 am and had a great drive to the clinic. Debbie met us there for the Dr. visit, and Jullie ran errands. I learned that I can get my treatments in the roomy "atrium clinic" even when I have doctor visits. Really this "atrium clinic" is kinda like a spa atmosphere. I wonder if I could get a pedicure while I "drip?"

Jullie brought us Costco berry, frozen yogurt parfaits for lunch - my favorite. Jessica stopped by for a visit too. Everyone is so friendly at the clinic, I have to admit that I enjoy my chemo days. That's kinda wierd, I know. When you consider that two out of three weeks are chemo weeks, chemo becomes "normal."

The drive back to Huntington Lake (1.5 hours) was full of girl talk and catching up with Jullie. I felt fine. Back at Lakeview I read my book in the sunshine and visited with some of our guests. My body feels a little shakey, but my mind is energized. Art came down the hill from Camp Keola and visited a little. I've made plans for tomorrow to go up to Keola to visit and to take my kayak out for a spin. We'll see if I'm up to following through on those plans tomorrow!

I continue to be amazed at my blessings (they are too many to count)! God is good. He has blessed me and my family with good friends, good family, a beautiful place to live, good people all around. Thank you to all who are praying. When I talk to you, I become aware of your needs and you become part of my prayer list. All these prayers make an intricate, beautiful web. I imagine that God is pleased with the network we form!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Quite the Crew!

June 6th was the day we "took down" my mom's classroom. We had such an awesome team! We got done in record time! Faster than I can ever remember before!

From left to right: Valerie, Mike, Destinie, Tanya, Kim, Katie, Aunt Cindi, and Me

aka The Dream Team!

Mike served as our muscle AND our height. He tossed those boxes way up there like they were feathers. Come to find out "As high as you can go" wasn't to be taken TOO literally. Our apologies to those of you who might have had to take the boxes that were too high down.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cold Feet

Mom's feet (as do many other patients' feet) get very cold when going in for tests, treatment, even appointments. Those medical places keep their facilities cold here in the summer. We've gotten into the practice of taking a blanket (her favorite knit green stretchy blanket) to chemo and socks to chemo AND appointments. These were her socks for the MRI.Thought it was fun/ funny.
When waiting for the MRI results doctor appointment, I noticed that my mom and Debbie were wearing coordinating outfits! What fun! I couldn't let them escape before a picture!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Photos for Philling You In

I realised recently that due to the complex nature of getting photos from a camera, onto the computer, and then onto a blog, My Oh My multiple Myeloma is relatively devoid of pictures! I've been taking them, but they haven't all made it up. Here is my first attempt to amend that. More to come.
This is the "guest book" Dotty made. It is now filling with signatures and notes. What a clever idea! Don't forget to sign it when you visit!This was on the second "second day." Mom was doing a good job staying in bed and resting! It helped that visitors came to her! Cindy stopped by to show us the pain chip for the door to her Periwinkle Cottage and we noticed that her shirt was periwinkle too! Then we saw my moms hat and added it to the ensemble. We couldn't let her get away with out a picture. We were having too much fun!This was mom's first visit to Lakeview. We joked that she was holding court. She stayed in the cabin to avoid allergens and such, but that didn't stop all the social endorphins. Everyone came to her! I had to take this picture because she was looking so "red and navy blue." The Pinedale spirit never goes away! Here we are eating dinner at the cottages!

Monday, June 8, 2009

1 month anniversary

Hmmm. I’ve “had cancer” for a month. Seems like a very long month. On the other hand, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. God is doing a new thing in my life and I trust Him. I have had tremendous support and that overrides the “cancer catastrophe.” Thank you to all who have prayed, called, written, visited, brought gifts and food. The outpouring of care is overwhelming.

My doctor visit today was good. Hemoglobin was up to 12.8! Normal range. My body is producing more good blood. One of my chemo drugs gives me insomnia on chemo days. Another chemo drug makes me especially sleepy on the 4th day following treatment. I guess I’ll just go with it. My back pain is much better and my coughing is subsiding. Things are looking good. (Jessie gave me a Demerol shot so life is looking good all around!)

I have an appointment at UCSF with Dr. Wolfe, a specialist in Myeloma, on July 14. He will review my treatment to date and run more tests. He will meet with George and me and make a recommendation for further treatment. I am sure we will discuss prognoses. He has been and will continue to communicate with Dr. Garley here in Fresno.

I don’t really know what is in store for me until we meet with Dr. Wolfe. It’s hard to make plans regarding teaching. Right now I’m counting on starting up in August, fifth grade, just like usual.

Interesting things always happen during treatment. I got to meet my ”myeloma twin” today. We are both 50ish white females who don’t fit the usual profile. We were diagnosed within one or two weeks of each other. Talking with her makes having myeloma more real. I also had a surprise visit from our school nurse and two special students. That was cool. The nurse helped my students make a ceramic tray filled with thumbprint hearts and the students’ names. They also brought get well cards. The best was talking with the students. I miss my kids (eyes well up here). I feel bad that I ditched them these last 6 weeks. I hope they and their parents understand. Shelley was my “escort” today. I enjoyed catching up with her – Sundays at church just aren’t enough.

It’s late, I’m not sleepy yet….

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Three nap Sunday

Church is essential. My church family is so supportive that I need to be there to absorb it. I feel Gods’ presence through the touch of my friends. This, too, makes me feel emotional. All this emotion must be making me tired.
We came home from church, had lunch, and I slept on the couch. A friend came by for a visit, then I took a late afternoon nap – same couch. The girls left for an evening activity and I took a third nap on the same couch! I woke up at 9:30! I sure hope this is healing sleep because I'm doing a lot of it!


Cindy drove to Huntington Lake. George was already there, working in the snow. Cindy and I stopped at Shaver Lake to check out the gift shop, then we stopped by the sporting goods store. That’s when I saw the four, big, beautiful boxes. I even gave them a hug. They were four brand new Honda outboard motors ready to go on our Lakeview fishing boats. They make me really happy because they will be no maintenance (by me) and will make our guests really happy.
Saturday was warmer, but no sunshine. I cleaned out our cabin then helped train our new managers. It was good to see the new guests. On the way home we stopped at Lakeshore for a hamburger.
This is very un-interesting for a blog. It’s normal, but I am so satisfied with normal right now. Normal makes me happy, it even makes me emotional. Sometimes it makes me cry.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Today’s therapy at the clinic really was fast-track! Maggie and I were really impressed. The nurses are so efficient. We were in at 9 and out by 11:30. Of course, I’m not getting the Demerol IV any more, so that speeds things up. Also I had no bloodwork or doctor visit.
Maggie took me on some of my errands including picking up a prescription and groceries and I was home by 1:00. Wow!
School is going really well (for me – I’m not even there!). My sub is great. She entered all her own grades. My grade partner Jennifer is the best. She helped Bria gather all my grading information and helped us with the print outs. Bria and I were just talking over the phone and printed up other reports and made sure I have everything I need. Jennifer is dropping everything off at my house. Hopefully, this weekend I’ll fill out the report cards. Done!
Even though the chemo makes me dizzy and feel weird, it is so nice to have a semi-clear mind! I am feeling grateful for many blessings!

Monday Doctor Visit

Today is the start of round two of 4 rounds. After a week off Chemo therape, I start over again. We met with Dr. Garley first. Remember that IGA (blood protein – the bad guys) spike? It started out at 2306 and looked better last Wednesday. Well the latest number is all the way down to 706! The goal is 378 and no abnormal cells. That is good news!
Because my numbers were so good, doctor reduced the amount of chemo I would take this round. She also eliminated the Demerol from my iv drip. The bad news about that is I don’t get that “all is right with the world” feeling. The good news is that I really do feel what the chemo is doing to my body. I felt kind of tingly and dizzy. It seemed like if I turned my head I would fall over. It’s good to know how things affect me.
We also met some nice people at treatment today. One lady came from Missouri to visit her aunt. She had an awesome quilt top she had made. She hadn’t had time to layer and hand quilt it, but she wanted to show her aunt. I have the photo on my cell phone. I have to figure out how to get it to my computer.
At home, I thought I would nap. My body wanted to lie still (very still) but my brain didn’t want to sleep. I listened to the flute ensemble cd (given to me by the Ewerts and featuring Dotty on harp), very relaxing – still no sleep. Patti came by with our teacher book club selection: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Very different, interesting book. I'm not done with it, but I recommend it.
Now I am oficially rambling, so I'm done.