Sunday, August 16, 2009

Gonna Do This in Parts One and Two

Hey All....
I have so very much to tell you that I know I'll run out of steam before I finish, so this entry will be in 2 parts. Part 1 and Part 2. Today is part One. My last "real" entry was written on Monday August 3rd, except for my little blurb yesterday, on 8/15. So as I left off in my previous entry, I told you we had decided to once again do my "self experimentation" of taking the Revlamid with the IV chemo Velcade to see if I was again going to develop a fever (ie raised temp as MM world says a REAL fever is 100.5.) your bets now, before time runs out! Well, gee whiz, guess what? I take the Rev on Sat. nite and I start a fever of 100.6 on Sunday. I take it again Sunday nite and ....boom....again run the same temp on Monday. So I issued my own cease and desist order and stopped taking the again, gee whiz, no temp on Tues. Wed or the rest of the week for that matter. So it still looks like it's an issue of taking the Rev daily while still having the Velcade in my body. Those 2 together, IN ME, are just not cooperating, which as I've said before, really just blows me away for a number of reasons. Firstly, I have never had a drug reaction ever to anything, and secondly, from all the research I have done, the 3 drugs I am on show the most promise for a complete remission, so the frustration is at crazy levels for me, seeming not to have the ability to take them both. Which then brings me to my visit with Dr. Ben who is an MM specialist at Moffitt Cancer Hospital in Tampa, where I had my bone marrow transplant. Dr. Nair wanted me to see Dr. Ben for a consult on my current status as well as getting his input into what we are doing now (which obviously isn't working) and perhaps he could develop a protocol that would work.
So Mom and I left early Wed morning and made the 2 hour drive to Tampa for my appt. I also brought the results of my last bone body scan and the results of my bone marrow biopsy that showed that I have 55% multiple myeloma cells in my bone marrow. (very very sucky, by the way) :(
To make the meeting with Dr. Ben short and sweet.....he reviewed all of my blood work, results etc and we went over what chemos I am taking and when and how much. I told him about researching that the current chemos I am on seemed to be what was working the best for most people, and he agreed, saying I was on the right meds. I also told him about running a temp and the other issues I was having. He excused himself to "look up some things", and was gone quite a while several times over our visit (Mom swore he was seeing other patients...LOL), but the last time came into the room saying "I think I have figured out the problem". to my ears. He said he felt I was getting too much of some and not enough of some but mostly the SCHEDULE I was taking them on needed to be changed. Again, music to my ears. He gave me a sheet of how all my chemos were to be taken and......lordy, would be difficult for a rocket scientist to figure out! There is no way I can keep this schedule in my poor little chemo brain, so the day after we got home I sat at the computer and got it all down on paper so it made some sort of sense. Just for instance, to give you an example, the IV chemo is to be given on Days 1, 4, 8 and 11 on a 21 day cycle. (and given in a 3-5 second IV, to be immediately followed by a flush) and then the Revlamid is to be taken days 1 thru 14 every 21 days and the Dex is to be taken on Days 1,2,4,5,8,9,11 and 12 every 21 days. Now this is only for the first 4 cycles and then there are some changes for cycles 5-8, and then a completely different way once I reach maintenance, hopefully on cycle 9. I am so visualizing and praying I get to cycle 9 with no issues. Wouldn't that be wonderful?? This is a complete departure from the way I was getting my chemo, so I see Dr. Nair this upcoming Thurs and will review what was done at my visit with Dr. Ben. I can't imagine that he would make any changes to this new schedule as that is why he sent me to Dr. Ben and Moffitt in the 1st place, to see what changes needed to be made. SO if all remains well, I will be starting the new chemo regime a week from tomorrow (on Monday the 24th). If you're wondering why I didn't discuss this with him on the Thurs I got back, is that Dr. Nair is on vacation for 10 days, so the next time I see him will be this upcoming Thurs. What I haven't mentioned thus far is that even though I ran the temps on Sunday and Monday, I didn't feel good AT ALL on Wed, or Thurs or Fri. either, so I went in to have my bloodwork, CBC, done on Friday and found out WHY I had been feeling so shitty. My RBC were so low, not even a shot of procrit would work (what I usually receive when reds are low, but not dastardly so). My levels were so low that I was being so severely anemic, that I would require a blood transfusion AGAIN....just had one in JULY.....AAAAARRRRRGHHHHHHHH! But it makes sense, with my symptoms of extreme fatigue(blood not carrying oxygen throughout my body), off balance, easily out of breath, etc etc.
Oh yeah, one more WBC, for which I was giving myself shots in the belly of neupogen, were at a normal range, so I will continue to hold them until we see the need to resume the shots. So now that I'm leaving you with "having to have a blood transfusion".....I will resume with Part 2 tomorrow.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


I apologize for not writing in about a week or so, but SO VERY MUCH has transpired, that I need to wrap my head around it, before I can even attempt to fill you in. I'll be formulating my thoughts shortly, so hopefully will fill you in tomorrow or Monday. Again so sorry, but you have been in my thoughts, I just couldn't write due to low energy or facing difficulties. Prayer circle please..let's all hold hands.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Medical Update :(

I swear....I just can't seem to get a handle on this physical MM stuff. It's really starting to piss me off.......BIG TIME. Let's wander back to short time ago (19 days ago to be exact) when I was admitted to the hospital for the neutrapenic fever. Yeah.yeah.....I know, broken record. But bare with me as I have a short story to tell. When in the hospital I received IV antibiotics and a shot of neupogen daily to bring up my WBC to be able to fight infection. After discharge, on 7/19, I went to the doctors office, starting that Monday and continued to receive the neupogen shots at the doctors office, since we attributed the WBC crash and fevers (hence hospitalization) to the new IV chemo I was receiving, Velcade, and maybe, a big maybe, that I was not tolerating being on 2 chemos at the same time. Because at the time of the crash, I was also taking my "old chemo" Revlamid in addition to the Velcade. When I was discharged from the hospital, (19 days ago to be exact), the Dr. told me to place the revlamid on hold and I would just be getting the Velcade. Fine with me. The next Thursday, I also re-started the revlamid per orders, as I REALLY need both of them to fight the myeloma. Well, I started the rev last Saturday nite and began to run a fever on sunday. Even though I ran a fever on sunday, I took another dose on sun nite. Ran a fever on monday. AH-HA......well, it doesn't take a brain surgeon to think that may be linked since that is exactly what put me in the hospital (19 days ago to be exact....getting tired of that yet? LOL). SO I sopped taking it on my own after only taking it for 2 days. When I say fever, the highest was 101.4 and ranged to a bit over 100. That isn't really a fever in MM world......but it was close. Doctor says a "true fever" is 101.5, but hell, it was too close for comfort for me, plus I felt crappy and achy and since my general overall temp generally runs 97.6, it was a fever to me! I took ibuprofen to bring the temp down. So after running a temp on sat and sun and then stopping the rev, hmmmm......fever gradually goes away and I start to feel halfway human again. So, this past Thurs is another IV chemo day and I told Dr. Nair the sequence of events. Oh more IMPORTANT THING. I think I mentioned that I received neupogen shots the week after my discharge from the hospital at the doctors office and now at home (self administered in my belly each day...that's a fun thing to do), since I was approved by the insurance company to fill it at the pharmacy. A little aside, and I promise I won't get into all the financial aspects of having cancer, the neupogen co-pay cost me $115.00 for a 10 day supply! So times that by 3...........ARRGGHH. (Would I look too weird if all 90 pounds of me set up at a busy instersection with my "catch my pee" container asking for donations?.....just wondering......LOL) Anyway...Because at this time I had received 5 days of shots at the doctors office (until insurance approval) and then another 6 days of shots at home, my white blood cell count this past Thurs (the 6th) was a whopping 20, when the "high end" of normal is 10.9, so I was basically double the normal WBC count! When the doctor saw that he said to totally stop the neupogen shots for a week, and then we will go back to 3 days a week instead of 6 (you don't get a shot on chemo day). Better for my wallet anyway :) Due to chemo brain, I'm not sure if I told you that receiving neupogen's purpose is to increase your white blood cells, (the cells that fight infections) and since mine tanked and I started the fever that sent me to the hospital, thats when we decided to be pro-active and start neupogen to counteract the effect the Velcade was having because it lowered my WBC count. At this visit I also told him that I started the rev like he had told me to, and that after only receiving it for 2 days I started the temp thing, so I went off it on my own. He said that it was a great possibility that the excess WBC, are due to the neupogen shots and caused my fever as my body is working super overtime to manufacture WBC. So the bottom line to Thursday's visit was: no neupogen shots for a week & remain on the lower dose of the IV Velcade I got Thurs. He asked me to conduct my self experiment again. Give my body a rest for 2 days and tonite (sat) I will once again take my chemo revlamid. Will be curious to see if I start a fever again. I'll take it again on sun, just like I did before. IF I start another temp-running bonanza I will stop. If I don't (cross your fingers and say a prayer I don't, as there has been great remission results with using all 3 chemos I am on (rev, velcade and dex). It just seems that thus far, I am not tolerating the both, (which is really really disappointing to me,) since up until now I have handled everything that has ever been thrown at me. I'll take the rev tonite and sun and report on if I get a fever or stay tuned! So right now, I am in a holding pattern. Another source of some anxiety is the fact that Mom and I will be driving over to Tampa (early.......ugh) next Wed morning to go to the Moffitt Cancer Hospital, as I have an appt with my BMT doctor. The purpose of this visit is really my 1 year check-up even though it has really been 14 months, but he wants to give me the going over esp since I relapsed so soon and Dr. Nair wants me to run the sequence of events by him thus far and get his recommendations about what he suggests for future treatment, since my body is truly being an uncooperative pain in the ass.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August Already......

I can't believe it is August already. The summers in Florida are always brutal...... how did I do it when I was younger, just laying on the South Florida beaches, just baking? Or even just a short 7 years ago, when I spent EVERY Summer weekend, sitting on hot metal bleachers watching my daughter, Lindsay, playing Travel Tournament Softball, even going out of State for the World Series of Softball many times, to sit on (whoever's) really hot metal bleachers. I remember sitting there with washcloths in the ice cold cooler and wrapping them around my head and neck to try to gain some semblance of a normal body temperature! And keeping Linz cool and hydrated was a priority as standing on that hot field playing 1st base or pitching, (or sitting in an almost hotter dugout)......well, let's just say, I don't know how she did it. I admired her for her love and dedication to the sport. I don't know how I did it either. Kinda like what I'm doing now. When I look back at the beginnings of this journey with MM, I see how many times (so far), I have faced challenges and lived to tell the tale. Some are bigger than others, ie the hospitalizations, 2 not counting the BMT. Then of course, 6 weeks in an apartment with my wonderful caretakers (Mom and Kate) during the BMT and the daily trips back and forth to the hospital. Enduring the horrid, side effects of the BMT chemo. Losing all my hair.....(not really a big big deal, but still.....I am a girl!) Then comes the disappointing fact the BMT only lasted 9.5 months and then the relapse. And since the relapse, all the troubles of constant UTI's, blood issues, transfusions (2 so far) and the multitude of daily little symptoms, from terrible fatigue to bowel issues (yep..I said it......chemo makes me constipated) and more. But.....the thing is, I've gone through all this so far, and survived, just like I survived 10 years of every single weekend of the summer sitting on all those hot bleachers. One big difference in all this though......I enjoyed those softball games, I wanted to be at every softball game (NEVER missed even one in all those years).....this MM chit? Not enjoying it so much, and wouldn't much mind if I missed a few of these MM "games" either.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"Normal" Life.....

I think if you took a poll of cancer patients, they would tell you the one thing they really really want, is to have a "normal life" or get back to what was their normal life. I know that goes through my mind in lots of different ways, as the topic has so many layers to it. Getting back to normal relates to emotional, physical, spiritual and financial "normals". My biggest wish, hope and dream, would be to continue living life the same way after being diagnosed as the way I did before. Is that ever ever possible though? Even if, say you got the physical back on track, don't you always have the mental there have cancer. You might be in a remission, but the fact is, once you have cancer, you always have cancer, even if it's just a little bitty thought in the back of your mind. The trick then, as I see it, is to strive, through our limitations, to regain as normal of a life as we can after being diagnosed. I would imagine at certain times throughout the journey, you have one thing that will bother you more than others, depending on where your focus may be at that time. Like if it''s a physical thing, well of course, that can't help but take priority at that time, but maybe down the road when the physical aspects get back on track, maybe the financial aspect will rear it's ugly head. Accepting our diagnosis, is #1 in regaining our normal life back, and then the process of adapting to life with cancer comes next. What helps me, I find, is focusing on the bigger picture. Sheesh, I'm always making plans for the future, because I refuse to allow cancer to run my life. Now I will admit, there are times when cancer DOES run my life, through no fault of my own. Like for example, when you have doctor visits every blessed day of the week! Hard to un-focus on cancer during times like that, as the constant needles and blood and vitals etc., slap you in the face with the reality of the situation. But those days, fortunately aren't the norm. How does that saying go? I may have cancer, but it doesn't have me. It's just that we need to remind ourselves every morning when we wake up that HEY..I survived another day, so what am I gonna do with it? And I don't necessarily mean do something physical with the day, it can be any of the other aspects I talked about. We just have to come to the point of acceptance that says, yep, this is shitty....I have cancer.... but it is not the center of my universe and I will push along as best as I am able. Now I don't mean to sound trite...far from it.......and this is not the easiest thing to do either, especially when physically feeling crappy, but keeping it uppermost in my mind helps me. I still have so many things I still want and need to do, that I have to focus on them and give cancer a back seat in my life as best as I can. I have lots of trips I still need to take, some I am currently planning as we speak, and I want to be around for my girls. At least till I'm an old lady :) I just don't want anyone giving in or giving up, which is WAY easier to do than getting battle armor on and fighting another day, but that's the card we drew, so don't fold your the cards.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Still Hangin' in There.......

I went to the doctor's office on Thursday (2 days ago) to receive my 2nd injection of the IV chemo drug Velcade. I was so terrified because of what had happened to me after the first injection, and so so so did not want to end up hospitalized this weekend too. Dr. Nair and I had lots to talk about at this visit, but we came to an agreement on my current plan of care. We decided that rather than starting at the normal dose of 103 mg of Velcade, that we would lower the dose I received Thurs to 100 mg. and instead of having the injections twice a week which is the usual protocol, that I would only receive it once a week for now. In addition to lowering the dose, we also developed some pro-active things to do to try to prevent another hospitalization. They are to go back to the office on Fridays after my IV on Thursday, to receive an IV infusion of hydration (as much as I drink water......and it's a ton....) I was still dehydrated when I was admitted to the hospital last week. In addition to the day after hydration, I was also taught to give myself neupogen injections, which I will give myself every day while undergoing this new chemo velcade. Neupogen is the drug I received right before my transplant last year. It is a drug that increases the production of while blood cells, and therefor gives you protection against any bacterial, viral and other infections that are floating around out there. It will give me a protection that the velcade just demolished last week. The problem last week is that the velcade just crashed my WBC, which fight infection, into such dangerous zones, and therefore also started running a temp because of this. To get the neupogen approved by the insurance company will take jumping through a few hoops, since it's an injectable as well as VERY expensive. I don't know how much this is per month as I haven't received any paperwork on it yet, but I know that the oral chemo revlamid I take costs $8,000 a month and velcade is much stronger and more powerful, so I can (no...actually I can't!) imagine what that cost will be. It will probably take about 4 days or so to get this approved, so in the meantime, my whole next week, every single day, will be taken up with doctors appts. On Monday I will go for a CBC (complete blood count) to see where my low platelets are and to determine if I will be going in for a platelet transfusion as well as getting a neupogen shot. Some slightly good news though, is that when I did come home from the hospital last week, my platelets were at 40 (normal 140) but by yesterday they had come up to 54 with no intervention), and then Tues and Wed will be just getting the neupogen shots and Thurs will be IV chemo day, and Friday will hydration and neupogen shots (although I hope to have my own by then and can give them to myself at home) Oh yeah...another change is that instead of the usual prtotcol of 103 mg of velcade twice a week for 2 weeks and then 10 days off, I will be having it once a week all the time. The bottom line is that I am on the right meds to get the MM under control, but the larger question becomes, where is the right balance? I will be on 15 mg of revlamid, 100 mg of Velcade, 40 mg once a week of dexamethasone and coumadin (the blood thinner as chemo causes blood clots). Any and all of these drugs can mess with my blood counts, so he said that our job right now is to play with the dosages until they are right and I can work my way up to the usual dosage and protocols for the velcade which has a proven record of really kciking some MM butt. This could take several months or up until around the holidays, no one knows for sure, since this is NOT an exact science and each person handles things differently. (I'm opting for the several months tops!) It's actually kind of new and weird for me too, as I'm not a "side effects" person.....really ever. This last time was the very first time that I've had more than the usual pesky side effects (low energy etc) from any type of drug I've been given, even through all the stuff I had to take for the bone marrow transplant. Kinda threw me off my game when I had to go the hospital last week, as it was so unexpected too. Well that's where we are right now in bizarro cancer drug world and I just visualize and see myself going through a few rough patches right now, with the promise of getting it right and having LOTS & LOTS of complete remission ahead of me after all this is said and done. Join me in seeing this, won't you? :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Back in my Own Bed.....

Was released from the hospital on Sunday afternoon, after arriving there about 11:00 AM on Thursday. The Readers Digest condensed version of what happened: Received my 1st velcade infusion on Friday the 10th. Felt ok and then as I had written, started running a fever and feeling weaker and weaker as each day went by, to the point I was holding onto walls and using a cane when I walked. EVERYTHING was a struggle. I was supposed to receive my 2nd infusion of velcade the following tues, but called the office and told them how I felt and that I had been running a fever and they said no to the infusion and made me an appt to see the doctor the next day (wed). Went through the usual routine of blood etc and it turns out my WBC (which have never been an issue until today) were 1.2 and normal is 4.0. That means with the temp it's called a neutrapenic fever which is a life threatening condition. The hospital didn't have a bed for me that day (required a private room b/c of all the precautions needed with this issue) , so doctor filled me up with 3 hours of IV drugs to get me through the nite and admitted me for the next day. I won't go into all of the gory details of the hospital stay, let's just say it's just horrid being in the hospital. I don't know how you are supposed to heal in such an environment. You can't sleep, the food is horrible, the tubes and Iv's all over, people in and out all day and nite.....and that's just part of it. Each and every moment I was there, all I wanted was to come back home and be in my own bed, with my coffee, take meds on my timetable etc etc. Needless to say, I was thrilled when they gave me the ok to go home on sunday afternoon. I was to follow up with blood at the office on Monday so that's what I did, and WBC back in normal range, RBC a bit low, but nothing requiring intervention BUT my platelet count is super low right now. Normal is 140 and my count is 40! He said we'll wait till I see him on my Thursday appt and if they are still at crisis level, I'll need to have a platelet transfusion. This shit is really getting old. After being in remission and feeling good for 10 months, this relapse has just not given me a break. It has truly been one thing right after or in conjunction with another. Between all the UTI's, transfusions and now a hospital stay under my belt, well all this has happened in the last 6 months so it is truly wearing me out. I need to string together a bunch of good days for a break and have time to recoup. Mentally and physically, it's just a struggle to day by day get through the last 6 months with all this stuff going on. What a cunning and baffling and unrelenting disease this is. We must never take for granted even one second of feeling well.....ever. I am feeling a bit better today, being my 2nd day home, but of course, I did over do it yesterday (monday, after getting home from hosp on sunday) b/c I had the doc appt and then decided to just grab a few things from the grocery store while I was out, which then in turn, I was like, hell, I'm here and I don't know how I'll be feeling so I'd better grocery shop, so that's what I did. By the time I got home I was so whipped, I could barely bring the groceries in and put them away, but now it's done and me and the dogs have food :) Today I am just chillin and plan on doing the same thing tomorrow. Have to be at doctors at 11:00 am on Thursday, so me and the doc have alot of talking to do to figure out where we go from here, since velcade didn't like me too much. Maybe we'll play with the dosage, but it scares the hell out of me to try it again, after what I just went through. No pain no gain, right? Who thought up that crappy way, anyway?

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I really don't have the energy to write down all that has transpired in the last few days, so maybe I'll be feeling better in the next few days and let ya'll know what's going on. Bottom line.......I have been getting worse over the last week (since the velcade last fri) and my WBC have become life threateningly low. When you body cannot produce it's own protection, the ONLY thing to do is hospitalize me and get me on IV antibiotics. I saw an "infection specialist" today, so only him and Nair will be my doctors. I am breaking down in tears right now....I HATE hospitals. The noises, the interruptions, the IV machine noise, uncomfortable beds, bad food....just everything about them and I hate being here so much. I had no choice though.....I could literally die if I had let this go untreated. It's called a "neutrapenic fever". Pray for me.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Where's the Fever coming From?.

I made my last post on saturday, having had my 1st velcade infusion on friday, as I just wasn't feeling well enough mentally and physically to write anything on friday right after my doctors visit, and after having such a shitty day. What I neglected (or really just chemo brain forgot to tell you)...when I go through the "regular routine" of weight, blood draw, blood pressure and temp, I was surprised to see I was running a low grade temp of 99.2 that day. Not a REAL biggie, but certainly something to watch for sure, when you have no immune system to speak of. Of course my first thought was....UT-'s the possible start of another UTI coming my way. Now generally speaking, for a normal person 99.2 is a slight indication that something may coming my way, but on top of that, my usual temp runs a bit lower than the normal persons...I generally run about 97.8, so that , for me is even more of an indiciation that something may be going on with me. Several visits ago, Dr. Nair had written me an antibiotic for 2 weeks with a 2 week refill, just in case I felt something coming on and before I could get to him, and of course things like this always crop up on a friday or the weekend, when you can't get to the doctors office before monday! So when I came home from my fridays infusion, I started on my levaquin (antibiotic), just in case I was starting a UTI and also dow 3 ibuprofen as a precaution. Started a "fever log" as I can't remember anything these days (YES>>chemo brain back in full force). On Saturday, took my temp and it was normal throughout the day. Sunday, I started to feel weird and feverish, so took my temp at 1:15 pm and it was 101.2, so again, I take the antibiotic and 3 ibuprofen. At 4:15 (so only 3 hours later)it came down to just 100.6, so not much help in going down :( Took another 2 ibuprofen, and finally went to sleep knowing that was the last time I was going to take it that night. Needless to say, felt pretty shitty on Sunday. On Monday, didn''t feel feverish or weird, so took my first temp of the day at 3:25 pm and it was 98.6.....(although con't to take the antibiotic) YAY.....normal. BUT BUT BUT.... at 4:45, just a bit over an hour later, I started feeling really bad and took my temp and it was 101.4! Again, took 3 ibuprofen and my antibiotic. Took my temp again 45 minutes later (at 6:30 pm) and the ibuprofen made it go back down to 101.0, so just .4 lousy degrees in 3 hours. Needless to say,I'm still feeling pretty dang wiped out and weak by this time. At 6:30 pm, after 2 more ibuprofen, I got it down to 99.0 around 8:00 pm and tried to go to bed early. Now today, I was supposed to go in for 2nd Velcade infusion, but I kwow chemo kicks your butt and I wasn't sure whether they would even want me to have it today, so I called the office around 9:00 am (my appt wasn't until 11:15 and my temp was 98.9) but they said NO...Don't come in for the velcade, until we figure out what is causing the fever, they set me up for an appt for tomorrow (wed). Now here is here the predicament lies. If I hadn't had a low grade fever on fri (BEFORE the infusion), it would stand to reason the chemo is the culprit as it is one of the side effects. But because I did have a low grade temp on fri, is it the beginning of an asymptomatic UTI (which I continue to take the antibiotics's only 1 pill a day of 500 mg of levaquin) it it just the UTI starting? Is is a combination of the velcade and and a UTI? Or is it something altogether different and new? I know that kidney issues can cause fever as well as several other MM issues? I am so weak right now, from something...had to use a cane for stability again today...can hardly move around in bed and again (and I know you are getting tired of hearing this..the FATIGUE is just so overwhelming. Like I couldn't drive myself to the doctors today..just no mom , again my angel, will have to drive me tomorrow, if I still feel the way I do right now. I guess I just want answers. Is it the chicken or the egg? I just know, this is once again, one of my "rough spots" that I will have to get over to fight this fight. It just gets real old sometimes, ya know? I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I went to see Dr. Nair yesterday for my regular appt., to check all vitals, as well as having the usual CBC to check on white and red blood cells. I weighed 91 lbs. by the way.....something I am so concerned about :( I didn't know if the results of the bone marrow biopsy I had on Tues. would be in by then or not, so I went in wondering if the results were back yet. Mom took me to this appt., as I also wasn't sure if I would be receiving my infusion that day or not, and in case I did have the new chemo infusion and I had any side effects, we thought it best if mom took me to my appt. and Ashley would come and pick me up when I was done, as we also didn't how long it would take either. So I went to this appt not knowing several things. My RBC were all either just at normal or a little low, but nothing that required any intervention. So all of those are stable for now. That last transfusion has lasted me 3 weeks now, so that's a high five, as again, it has made me not as horribly fatigued as I had been.
Just a word about Dr. Nair before I go on with the rest of my day......
As I've said before, I trust him implicitly. We are a team. I really think that goes back to my very first appt. with him when he so thoroughly explained what MM was and what the possible treatment options were for this disease. (He made drawings and all). :) After he was done I had said to him "We are in this together, right?" and "We're gonna do our best to beat his thing as a team, right?" and he answered yes to both questions, and then I gave him a "fist bump"! Oh, yes I did! LOL.....he then stood up and pulled me to my feet and gave me a big hug and said "we will fight this as a team and fight together". That was the very beginning of our relationship, and we've only grown closer and more trusting over these 2-1/2 years. He has also told me that he knows and respects that I am very informed about this disease, so when he says something, he knows I understand what he is talking about and if I don't understand or have any questions, he takes however long it takes to explain things to me. He has a way that includes me in all decisions. For instance, when I went in for my last blood transfusion, the way he said it was "how do you feel about having a blood transfusion for your low RBC count?" Now if I had said, let's just try the shots for a few days and then I'll make my decision, he would have respected my decision and done it my way. At the time, as well documented here, I was feeling so horrid I jumped at the chance for a transfusion, so of course said yes, but my point is he would have done it my way had I chosen differently. Another thing about my doctor.....he does not give false hope NOR predict dire outcomes. If you are ever diagnosed with a serious disease and a doctor either tells you no problem OR gives you an expiration date.....find the door AND another doctor as fast you can. The "no problem" doctor cannot predict side effects, medical complications, etc. and the "expiration doctor" does not have a crystal ball that can predict the future and everyone is different, so neither doctor has any business telling you one way or the other, and has no business being your doctor. That's why I trust Dr. Nair so much. He does neither. What he has to say to me at any given appt. is about how I am doing right then. Another reason I trust him so much>>>> he has said to me on several occasions "Jan, out of all of my patients, you are the one that is always on my mind. I think about what is going on with you and what the next several outcomes might be, and where we wil go based on them. You are always uppermost in my mind". That assures me I am not on someone's back burner....or that my doctor is just waiting for the next bomb to drop before thinking about options, etc etc. It makes me comfortable. He totally has my back and and we have a mutual trust and respect for each other, that I am so grateful and thankful is there. He always greets me by either holding my hands in both of his or a big hug and ends the appt in the same way. I feel close to him. I cannot imagine going through all of this without someone like him guiding me through this journey.
Now back to my day.....he told me that the bone marrow biopsy results were in and that it showed 50% cancer cells were in my bone marrow. At initial diagnosis back in 1/07 the results were 65% cancer cells, so that basically means I am almost back to where I started from and that's even after going through the hellacious bone marrow transplant. I started to cry. This news actually stunned me and I don't really know why. It shouldn't have, as I've had several indications that I have a very aggressive form of MM starting with relapsing from the transplant after only 10 months and the latest low red blood cell counts over and over. That's what MM does. Of course I got an extra hug (LOL) when I started to cry, (and a box of tissues) which I really hadn't planned on crying, it just sorta popped out of me! It was totally unexpected on my part, but hey, it was a real and genuine reaction. We then spoke some time about starting the velcade right then and there and I was prepared as I did bring my IV transfusion bag with all my "stuff" in there to occupy the time. He assured me that this will definitely bring down my MM numbers (that's why he wanted the biopsy results done first). He said I would receive Velcade for 4 months and then we would see where I was at that point. That would be on a schedule of Fridays and Tues. for 2 weeks and then 10 days start that schedule all over again, for a total of 4 months. I asked him if his goal for this round of treatment was a partial remission (in my mind having had an unsuccessful BMT and having to back down on my revlamid b/c of side effects) and he said goal for you will always be complete remission. He also told me in years back, all an MM patient could hope for was at the most 3-4 years tops, but now with the inventions of so many new chemos and drug combinations, that I can seriously look at a minimum of 10 years and that who knows what is coming down the pike as far as new treatments and drugs. Like I told you before, he doesnt just throw out numbers easily (or at all), so for him to say something like this really does mean something. After discussing a few more things, I went back to the infusion room and started the next leg of this journey I'm on. Nobody promised it would be easy, huh? I'm just bummed out right now, but I'll get over it and move on. I still find myself feeling a little sorry for myself and the tears well up, but it comes in waves and then passes. Luckily for me, my personality doesn't really make me stay in a sad place for very long and thankfully I'm not a "dweller", so that's a good thing too!! So for now, that's were I am>>>> all positive thoughts and prayers are more than welcome. :) A really big thank you for traveling with me and being by my side while I go through this. It helps even more than you know.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bone Marrow Biopsy Tommorrow......

Spent several hours at the outpatient surgery part of the hospital, filling out all of the paperwork, getting blood drawn, etc., making sure all of the "proverbial ducks are in a row" for my bone marrow biopsy tomorrow. Have to be there at 9:00 am for the 11:00 am procedure. I'm not sure, and it wasn't documented on the paperwork anywhere, what kind of anesthesia I will be receiving tomorrow. Last time I had a biopsy at the hospital, it was a different kind of biopsy..... it was right after my cancer diagnosis, and the biopsy was to determine what kind of cancer I had. They had to take different pieces of my tumor from different areas to send to the lab for a definitive diagnosis. Tomorrow it will be going into the hip bone and extracting strands of bone marrow and be used to determine how many cancer cells are "hanging" out and where I basically stand with this disease right now. At initial diagnosis, my bone marrow contained 65% cancer cells, so I am curious to know how aggressive this disease is being right now, (especially after having had a transplant!) and it will also help the doctor assess how aggressive he needs to be in treating the MM. Fingers crossed they haven't gone up an outrageous amount. Which brings me back to...... I'm not sure if I will be out like a light tomorrow or he'll do what he did for the 1st one I just described. During that procedure, I was awake the entire time (I remember them asking do you feel?....did you feel that? won't be too much longer....stuff like that) and was told they were giving me (through the IV line).....a fast acting but short duration pain medication that they could administer frequently as needed and another drug...( I forget now.....WOW, that drug has lasted a LONG time..LOL) maybe it was versed?), so that I could still be awake to answer their questions, yet not remember the pain ....THAT"S MY POINT DOING IT THIS WAY :) So we'll see, either way, as long as the biopsy goes smoothly is done as painlessly as possible, it's all good. I'll let you know how it goes, but if it's the same as the prior biopsies which I am anticipating, I won't even know something was done, except for a teensy bit of tenderness in the hip area. No big deal :)

Friday, July 3, 2009

What Low Blood Cells?.......

Had my appt for my bloodwork yesterday and WOW......all was really really good! It's such a great feeling when after a doctors appt you walk away with good news..... for a change! My WBC's were normal, but those pesky RBCs that have been nothing but mean to me and a HUGE pain in my ass these last few months were wonderful. So that means that not only did the blood transfusion work, it seems to have lasted and not petered out, as it was given to me a week ago today and my numbers yesterday indicate almost double what some of them were last week and the rest in normal range. Woo Hoo. The main thing about all of this though, is I FEEL good. I feel normal, with only a slight fatigue at the end of the day, but hey, that's normal. I am driving, running errands, doing household stuff and even in the midst of choosing a color to paint my bedroom! I had picked up the swatches of colors over a month ago, but then BOOM (enter 4th of July firecracker noises here) the big blood crash, so needless to say, the painting of the bedroom was placed way way back on the last imaginary burner. I also WANT to get back to my studio making beads and jewelry. I've missed that so much :( But now, well, let's just say, I'll be in the studio for LOTS of time now, because while I did have my "crash" time, I had lots of really cool ideas floating around in my head for bead ideas, so I can't wait to get out there and start "playing with fire" again. If you have never seen photos of my bead studio, you can check out my Facebook Page.....Jan Farmer....and on the left bottom of the page is a link to my photo album of my bead studio. Gonna run for some groceries shortly..... ahhhhhhh......the little things you look forward to when feeling better....LOL) and then coming home and "play" with glass for a few hours afterwards. Ya'll have a great 4th of July tomorrow. Ashley and I will either be going over to Mom's for a BBQ or go out to eat, we haven't decided yet. I have 2 upcoming topics that have been swimming around in my mind lately, that I will be writing about is the Bucket List and another will be photos of baby kittens that my Mom and Van fostered.... a feral cat (actually it fostered them)...she had babies in their driveway and they are getting old enough to go to a no-kill shelter for adoption soon and I want to take photos of them while they still have them. They are truly too cute for words.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Just a Quickie..... & Pics :)

Still feeling pretty dang good today. Have a doctors appt for blood draw tomorrow, so we'll see where the ole RBC's are hangin after the transfusion. I'll have a pretty busy day tomorrow as my appt is at 1:00 pm.....and it's the appt where I get all my monthly scrips written, so afterwards I'll have to stop at the pharmacy and have them filled and then get home as the TV cable guy will be here between 5-7, as the DVR crapped out about 3 days ago, so I've had to watch TV in my bedroom for the last few days. I've added a couple of new photos today that I took on 6-18-09, so that was 13 days ago. Wanted to give you an update on the hair and then I happened to be wearing this little T-shirt type top I bought at a bar when we were on our cruise in November. It was called the "Blue Bitch Bar" and we ate there for lunch (also a photo of that farther down near the cruise photos). I hadn't worn the shirt till the day I took these photos. Thought it was such a hoot, I wanted to share :)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A "Normal" Day.....

Wow....I think I just had a "normal" day! Pinch I dreaming? I met Ashley at 10:30 am at the car place, as I gave her my old station wagon, and it needed a new gas filter and a shot of freon for the AC, especially right now in this unforgiving heat we are having. On Saturday when I gave her the car, we had gone to the oil change place and had that done and they told me it needed a new gas filter, but they charge up the wazoo for stuff like that, so I didn't want to have it done there because I have a guy that works on my cars and he did it like $24 cheaper today. So I met her up there, and then went to pay my property taxes, mailed something at the post office and then we came home and chilled for awhile. Later on, we went to pick up the car and I was in the mood for an IHOP crepe so we stopped and had an early dinner there and then came back home and she then drove back to her house in Daytona. See what I mean? It was normal! I'm not draggin butt.....feeling damn good actually, so I continue to be amazed at how a lack of those little red blood cells can wreak so much havoc in your body, and for the length of time it can last. For 3 whole weeks I thought I was slowly dying. It really felt that way. I finally scheduled my bone marrow biopsy for next Tuesday at 11:00 AM, but I have to be there at 9:00 AM as it is considered an outpatient surgery so you get assigned your little room and they start the IV' know the drill, and then will have the biopsy and go into the recovery room afterwards. I can drive myself for the pre-appt on Monday to do the paperwork etc, but can't drive myself the day of the procedure because I will be having anesthesia. Hey Bobbie,( or Lissa to tell your mom), if you're reading this...and....if you aren't doing anything next Tues, come take me (aren't I getting better at asking for help?) LOL.... for my biopsy as there will be plenty of "down time" and we can be together the whole afternoon. Give me a holler and let me know if you're free that day and can take me, otherwise mom said she will. Other than that, I'm excited about getting this scheduled, so then I can begin my new IV chemo Velcade the Thursday after the biopsy and hopefully get the ball rolling on decreasing these pesky MM cells floating around and being a pain in my ass and interfering in my life. Just everyone keep your fingers crossed the RBC hold steady and I feel this good when I go in for the procedure :) Now that would be awesome.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Just a Quick Update......

I did have some slight reactions to the transfusion of Friday, none of which were unmanageable. Later Friday nite I had some diarrhea and that was that. On Saturday I had more diarrhea and a slight headache, which went away with some ibuprofen. All in all, much energy returned and that was my BIG BIG hope in having this procedure. So, it was successful in my book. I'm not 100% re-couped by any means, but if you compare the way I have been feeling the last 3 weeks until now, I say schedule me for a Bungee jump or something! It is so amazing that a low red blood cell count can give you such anemia that it can make you feel the way it made me feel. Truly amazing, as the difference now is like night and day. I am heeding my own warnings now though and not "overdoing" the minute I DO feel better (which is my usual MO), as I want to keep this little reserve of energy for as long as I possibly can, so I will take it easy and take it slow for now. I did find out the bone marrow biopsy will be some time next week (today's Monday, so not this week) which kinda bummed me out, as I really wanted to get started on the new chemo Velcade ASAP, but hospitals can only do so many procedures in a day, and they were booked solid for this week, so it looks like it may be Mon or Tues of next week. We want the results of the biopsy BEFORE receiving this new chemo, to see exactly how many cancer cells are doing the hokey pokey in my bone marrrow right now. Isn't that crazy that the great thing in life I'm looking forward to is having a bone marrow biopsy and starting a new chemotherapy that is so destructive to ALL cells of the body, not just the "bad ones". LOL....the way your thinking changes and your priorities change when you are battling cancer is just downright scary and crazy. Welcome to where I live at the moment..... "Bizzaro World"!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Blood Transfusion Day......

The alarm went off at 5:15 and I hit it twice. The plan was to go to bed early, which I did, as I turned the tv off around 11:30 pm and fell asleep shortly after. BUT THEN.....around 2:oo am I had to pee, so I woke up and made my way to the bathroom. When this normally happens (pee in the middle of the night), I get up in zombie mode, pee get back into bed and just roll back to sleep with no problem. I guess when I got up to go last night, a thought of having to get up in a few hours for the transfusion came into my brain and that, my friends kept me up until 3:30 am! After laying there awake for an hour I finally turned the tv on and watched some infomercials (LOL) and finally fell back to sleep around 3:30 and then the alarm went off at 5:15. UHGG. That's why it got slapped twice at 5:15 and then I finally decided to get up and start the day. As I've said before, it really does take me a while to physically move in the morning due to pain and stiffness issues, so by the time I got to the hospital for the transfusions it was 7:20. Oh well.....beat me with a stick. Turns out they really weren't ready for me anyway (they probably tell you to get there at least 15 min before they want you there anyway) as the needle entered my arm at exactly 7:40 am. The 2 bags of blood took 3 hours to infuse and then out the door I went. Now last time I had a transfusion, I experienced an increase in heart rate to where I thought I might be having a heart attack and my pulse ran around 130, which really got kinda scary. I also ran a small temp (around 100.2) I had left my post transfusion instructions there by accident last time, so didn't have a sheet to refer to so I didn't know if this was a reaction and normal or abnormal. I was really close to calling the ER that night but decided I would be ok if I could just go to sleep, and I did and was better and better but the heart rate and small fever did last 2 days. Well, today I read and kept the instructions on transfusion reactions and guess what #1 is? INCREASED heart rate, RAPID PULSE and HEART PALPITATIONS! So I guess I wasn't losing my mind last time. (good to know...good to know)`Just FYI the others on the list are: skin rash, fever/chills/flushing, headache, backache (now that one's gonna be hard to tell :), diarrhea (that one won't be hard to tell) and finally fatigue (laughable one for me, huh?) I remember last time too the symptoms came on later in the evening....around 8:00 pm or so and it's now 7:15 pm. I don't feel bad at all, so fingers crossed, I'll skip the ole symptoms this time, if that's ok. So all in all, it went well and I'm feeling OK.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

No New Chemo Today......

Had an appt with Dr. Nair today and after getting blood, weight, blood pressure, temp, etc etc and answering oh so very personal questions like do you have diarrhea or constipation (heehee.....believe me, once you have cancer there is NOTHING personal left about you!), I went in to see the doctor. Oh by the way, the weight from tuesday was correct (I was so hoping it wasn't) as today I weighed 92.5. YUCK We talked for a while about my situation, (I am NEVER rushed by him.....ever), but I'll give you the Reader's Digest condensed version here. I will be going to the hospital at 7 AM tomorrow morning (kill me now) for a 2 bag blood transfusion to get these reds up. Apparently, the MM has become so active and obviously aggressive right now, that the procrit just isn't able to bring the reds up by itself. Hopefully I'll have a better result than the last time I had a transfusion, as I didn't notice a difference in the way I felt. It must have worked on a physical level though as it was about 6-8 weeks since I had the last one I think. Dr. Nair and I also agreed that I will also be scheduled for another bone marrow biopsy next that's a fun way to spend the day! We did not start the Velcade chemo today, as he said that now that I have fully relapsed, he would be more comfortable knowing exactly where we are starting from at this point, and I agree. When I was first diagnosed, my bone marrow contained 65% cancer cells, so now that we are starting down the road again, he (and me) would like to know where I am exactly starting from now and it will also assist him in helping to determine how aggressive he needs to be when treating me. He said my MM #'s will decrease once I start on this new additional chemo so he wants to wait until after the biopsy is done to begin this additional chemotherapy. SO tentative plans are start on the Velcade next Thurs. When I get in for the biopsy is up to the hospital scheduling. I don't think I mentioned that I have an appt in mid-July at Moffitt Cancer Hospital with the doctor who was in charge of the BMT process. He is a very famous world renowned doctor that specializes in the treatment of MM. The appt is to basically have my one year check-up and Dr. Nair will also talk to him and discuss what he feels are all the available options for me are at this point in time. I drove myself to the docs today as I was feeling up to driving (and to give poor mom a break) but it took forever because of having the transfusion tomorrow, they had to draw additional blood and complete paperwork, and then I had to go to the hospital and register in out-patient and give them my blood so they can type it and have it ready for my morning "cocktail" tomorrow. This running around today wore me out (only so much gas in my tank right now) so I came home, drank a boost, had a little sumpin sumpin to eat and just chilled. Gotta go to bed early tonite as I have to set alarm for 5:15 AM to leave at 6:40 AM because these ole creaky rickity bones need their time in the morning for the heating pad to loosen them up and time for meds to kick in prior to being able to move. Mentally feeling ok, actually. I knew going into this that there would be ups and downs and I'm just in a down right now but "this too shall pass" and things will turn around. Even though we intellectually know this, when the downs arrive, they do throw you for a loop, no matter how prepared you are. Once I feel physically better too, there'll be no stoppin me :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Teensy Bit Better today...

and I mean teensy, but hell, I'll take what I can get at the moment! Found that I could navigate the house without the cane today as I feel a little bit stronger after having had the procrit shot for my low reds yesterday. I was really wracking my brain to figure out HOW ON GOD'S GREEN EARTH, could I make myself start feeling better. That's the frustrating had to be a medical intervention, that I had no control over. I do believe the shot helped to kick start the reds to start working....wonder if they have a portable thingie to plug mself into when I start feeling shitty? I know my body well enough to know when something is happening and it definitely was, as proven that the shot has made me feel a bit better today. Even threw in 2 loads of laundry today...woo hoo. Dang....I'm not asking much am I, when all I'd like is enough energy to do some simple household tasks right now? I still don't know if I'll be starting on Velcade tomorrow or or not, since I'm not up to par. Have appt at 10.45 am tomorrow, so I'll pack a little "chemo bag", just in case I do. Chemo bag contents: small blankie (it's cold in infusion room) I-Pod, 2 magazines, the morning paper, a book and some small snacks, esp since my weight yesterday was 92! Isn't that pathetic? I must look like skeletor. I'm not sure it was the right weight anyway as I wasn't paying attention when she weighed me (and kind of got a ditzy girl I rarely get) and to lose 2 1/2 pounds in 5 days seems a bit much, so I'll pay attention tomorrow and see where that is too. Added 2 Boosts to my daily regime (gosh they are filling), but I gotta pack on some weight as that too can become a detriment to healing if my weight gets too low. Sheesh....anytime, anyone wants to stop the merry-go-round, (or even slow it down), I promise to get off :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Went to Doctor's Today.....& Unexpected Visit Yesterday....

As I said yesterday, the doctors office had called to tell me they were calling in a scrip for potassium as it was low again and I told her how horrid I was feeling, so they gave me an appt for today. Mom, my angel, came by to pick me up (still no way I can drive right now) and had the bloodwork done and yes...I needed another shot of ""procrit" to help those little bugger RBC get on the job and start making me feel at least half-way human. My WBC were in the normal range, but those reds...dang....they were 1/2 the count they should have been, as well as hemoglobin and hematocrit in the tank too, so fingers crossed, this shot will help in kick starting the reds and get this low blood cell crap off the table for a while. I am supposed to start my new addition to chemo, Velcade, at my Thursday appt, but I have my doubts it will start that day. Maybe yes, maybe no, but I know in the past he hasn't wanted me to start anything new, while I'm currently dealing with something (right now it's the UTI, low red blood cells, & low potassium,) so I really don't know if I'll start the new chemo on Thurs or not. I really don't know much about this new chemo yet, except what I have read), so I don't know if it will matter if I'm dealing with other issues or not when I start it. I'll let you know. I know in the past he has even had me hold my chemo when battling a UTI (I am still taking it this time though). I would think that starting it when I am "feeling better" (HA HA HA.....loaded question these days)) would make more sense, but he's the doctor, so I don't know what call he'll make and it's still 2 days away, so who knows how I will be feeling after this shot today. I do believe in miracles, so anything could happen between now and thursday. Just a side note to again, sing my mom's praises, let you all know what a wonderful mom I have.....she dropped everything last nite to go grocery shopping for me and get some needed items. I really don't know what I would do without her. And also a note about, Melissa and her great mom,Sharon. My daughter Linz had called me during the day yesterday (yeah...the one that AWAYS ask the direct question"how are you doing today?") , so I told her the truth, as long ago she made me promise I would not hide anything about this disease from her. Well, when she found out how I was feeling, she called Lissa, (they have been best friends since elementary school & Liss lives local and Linz lives in Vegas) who told Linz that she would grocery shop for me (yesterday). Linz called again later and I told her that my mom was going to grab what I needed, so to tell Lissa I was ok. Well, about an hour or so later, who comes to the door, but Lissa and her mom with a beautiful bouquet of flowers (yes....they DO cheer you up, they are so pretty) to check up on me and make sure I was OK. What a surprise and a nice visit from two thoughtful people. They said to make sure I called them if I needed anything (to help take some of the burden off my mom too) and that they would come whenever I needed them. Makes me cry that I have really really awesome people in my life that will be there for me). I am slowly adapting to the the fact there are going to be times when I CANNOT do certain things and have to ask for help. Still don't like it.....but adapting.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Short Note on Today......

Unlike most of my posts, this one will be very short and very brief. Still feeling absolutely horrid and I've noticed the last few days as I am becoming weaker and weaker, my balance is in jeopardy so I started using a cane today to walk around as a precaution against a fall. I kept hoping I would feel better as the day went on, but that didn't happen, so I called my Mom to ask if she could pick up some groceries for me. I hate asking people to do things for me. Just hate it. I know they don't mind.....I would do it for them in a heartbeat, but for me to ask for help is such a big deal for me, and I guess it shouldn't be. Being an independent woman, comes back and bites you on the ass in times like this. Doctor office called today and said results of my bloodwork are showing low potassium again, so they called in a scrip that we will get tomorrow. While on the phone with them I told her how I was feeling and they set me up for an appt to receive shot for RBC tomorrow. I am at a loss as to how else to help myself get over this hump.

Friday, June 19, 2009

<<< RELAPSED >>> :(

As you've been reading in my last several entries, I've continued to report the continual UTI's and extreme exhaustion I've been having. I know I sound like a broken record. I had an appt with Dr. Nair yesterday and and we discussed the results of my last "send away to the lab" bloodwork that indicates how my MM is currently behaving and its been a bad bad girl. He was sorry to report that my MM numbers have increased significantly, to the point that I am in total relapse mode at this time. I was lowered on the Rev mg b/c the 25mg just crashed all my blood levels, to the point of even requiring that blood transfusion, so I was lowered to 15 mg. because we had no choice. I guess the 15 mg are inadequate to keep this aggressive form of cancer under control, but we know what the 25 mg did to me, so that's not really an option. You can't heal when your blood numbers are so low. This was devastating news to me yesterday, although I had a sneaky suspicion that something was wrong, because I was getting these recurrent UTI's.....with little break in between them. Something was wrong.....right? I must say though, the MM number came back yesterday is over that 25% "semi-comfortable we can control this" range. So now, I look back and think......WE went through all that misery of the BMT and in all reality I only got 10 months cancer free. Was it all worth it? I don't know. Having this disease just thrusts your life into unimaginable places, takes you places you never dreamed of being, and the only thing I can do, and manage is things I DO have control over. (Insert Serenity Prayer here) Thinking along those lines, I can control my diet, I can control taking my meds, I can control keeping doctor appts. and tests and treatments, and I can control the way I handle this emotionally and spiritually. Those I see as all I CAN control in this situation. For anybody out there that has "control issues", this is not the disease to get! LOL The bottom line right now is that we agreed I will be placed on ANOTHER form of chemotherapy in addition to the oral chemo and dex I am currently on. The new chemo is called Velcade, which I have researched, and it does have reports of many positive results. What I don't like (besides all of this) is this new chemo is ONLY is 2x a week (mon and thur for me) and about a 3 hour infusion (could be worse). I will do this for 2 weeks in a row and then have a 10 day break and continue on this schedule. The long term plan is if I respond to this positively, we'll stay on this for a year, and then repeat all bloodwork, scans, tests etc....the whole shebang and see where I am at that point. The prayers go up for positive results for the addition of Velcade and that I don't experience the side effects that are possible for this strong chemo. I'm not a big "side effects" person as a general rule, so I hope that my luck holds out for this drug as well. I feel so betrayed by my body right now.......angry....hurt.....resentful.....and I know I need to feel these emotions and then let them go. My usual behavior is to sit with them for a few days, process them and then move on. I just found out all this yesterday, so I'll need a few days, but I know I'll be ok. I have faith this will work. I have faith that I will get well. I know I am in good hands with a doctor that does not put me on the back burner and has my back. I am stubborn and I am strong. The possible scenarios could be much worse, so I am thankful I have medical options, even beyond Velcade. I received an email from a friend of mine a few days ago and it was like a funny but true list of things old age teaches you and one of them said....... "If we threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back". It made me laugh, because of the stinging truth. So that leaves me with........this sucks.....I hate it...but, I will survive.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Body & Mind Struggles.....

I've said on my last few entries, how absolutely fatigued I have been feeling. I had my weekly Dr. bloodwork appt yesterday and found out why I have been feeling so horrid. To make the story short...I have another UTI that is kicking my RBC are so low that I have severe anemia but could get away with just a shot for it this time and not require a transfusion, but was right on the line with it, and I have low potassium. Each one of these by itself could give the normal person to feel fatigued, but when it's a person with an underlying disease process and then you add ALL 3 to the mix....well no wonder I have been complaining of feeling so bad this last week. Just so bone tired. Tired to move around. Tired. Tired. Tired. As referenced to in my May 26th entry, my ability to "override" the sad/negative feelings you feel when your body is not feeling well, was something I was going to be working on. It's easier to stay positive when you are feeling good, or shoot, I'll not even push the envelope, and go as far to say even feeling decent in my world, contributes to maintaining a positive outlook.... Well, as the "old joke" goes, watch what you pray for (oh yeah.....insert a 1/2 hearted chuckle here), as I am being put to my own test in working on that area, as for the last week I have been on a physical downward spiral again, with the struggle to remain in a positive state of mind, struggling along with my body. I don't know really what to call it exactly, as I don't feel that it's so much a "negativity" that takes over the "positivity" per se, so I really don't know what to call it exactly. I would describe the symptoms as I cry easy, thoughts of "I'm so tired of being tired" roll around in my brain, so I suppose that could come under feeling sorry for myself, I look around at simple (ie. sweep, laundry, vacuum etc) things to be done in the house and just let them go as I don't have the energy to even do these small tasks, so this contributes to feeling angry at the inability to perform. Literally this week, I have been unable to walk down my driveway (it is a long one, but no excuse) and get the newspaper to read in the morning. I have had to drive myself down and then check the mailbox for any mail from the day before because if I didn't have the energy to get the paper, I certainly didn't have it to go back down and check the mail in the pathetic is all that? So that in turn also adds some anger. And then what I guess I am calling a lack of positivity, is due to the inability to do the things I want or need to do. This in turn pisses me off to no end....that lack of control I am having over all these little physical set-backs are pissing me off, the physical effects I am having from these infections and low whatevers, all swirl around together and effect my attitude. I use this as my forum for talking about my true feelings, as to talk them over with family or friends....well dang, with this disease you can begin to sound like a broken record, so I don't even like to mention things, yet when asked the direct question (which my Mom & Linz do EVERYDAY).."how are you feeling?" (that's a loaded question to someone in a daily battle it seems), well hell, I'm such a bad liar, so I answer their question, as vaguely as possible when NOT having a good day, although not all the time. I suppose it all goes back to feeling that lack of control of what it going on with my body. I struggle with maintaining a positive attitude right now, but I'm not gonna lie. It's hard to have my mind over-ride the physical aches and pains and fatigue that I am feeling right now. They say that knowing the problem is 1/2 the battle, so I know that I need to work on this. Earlier today I felt myself giving in to tears and sadness, so I made the house quiet and read my meditations, and then brought out my little hand held meditation balls (thanks Patty) and just concentrated on my breathing. Slowly in and out. Sending healing light throughout my body. I began to settle down and back away from the tears. Focusing on the might and my breath. Getting further away from tears. I focused for about 30 min when I began to feel better. So that's what I did today to attempt to bring back a positive focus, and yes, I did feel better for awhile, and as the day ticks on, I'm starting to feel draggy again, but will continue to use the tools I possess to engage in this battle for my head and heart over my body. There are way way worse things I could be dealing with when it comes to my body, so yes, all in all, in the big picture, I'm just pissing and moaning over the small stuff, I know. And for that I am thankful, and is a huge contributor to one of the main reasons I don't stay where I am mentally right now for very long. This is small stuff I will move on from, but here is where I promised to share my journey honestly.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nothing Particular Buzzing Around.......

in this little chemo brain of mine today. :) That can be a very good thing! The mindless wanderings, do take me to places, of course, but I am using my powers of choice to allow them to flit in and then flit out as quickly as they occur. When something I want to expand on, pops into my brain, I keep a little notebook nearby and jot down what the topic was, to come back to, at a later date. Alot of it may have to do with the wave (mini-Tsunami?) of fatigue that seems to have settled in over the last 4 or so days. Not to be compared with the pre-BMT fatigue I experienced after having been on chemo (Revlamid) for 14 months. During that time, to change positions in the bed required an Act of Congress (and we know how swiftly THEY tend to make decisions), so it's nothing along those lines at all, just an over-all pervasive feeling of being dog ass tired. (wonder who made up that phrase?.......and NO....NOT something I will expand on at a later date....LOL) I have though, in the last few weeks, received some very uplifting emails that have made my day......made me happy and made me surprised. They are from "friends" I just haven't "met" yet. They are from people that in whatever way, (the Universe does nothing by accident), seemed to have stumbled across my blog, read it and then took that special extra step to email me a note. And is SPECIAL to me. I have NO idea, who reads my blog, except for those who have signed up as followers, so to receive an email from someone who follows, but I don't know follows, is such great feedback and I truly truly appreciate it. Diane, if you are reading this, you are on my "to-do" list, as I felt an instant connection to you when reading your email and I will be writing you back soon. If you happened to come across this blog and felt it helpful in any way, you have my blanket permission to share the blog address with anyone you know who is battling this disease, or any cancer really. Caretakers of cancer patients may also find it somewhat helpful and I know my family members who held my hand every step of the way, are also open to any emails or notes if they can be of any help to anyone. Share my blog in support groups, with a therapist, or place a link to it, on any web page you may have or go to frequently, like Facebook, My Space, or a special interest group you may belong to etc, or with anyone you think may reap even a little bit of support. That's why I decided to "put it all out there". The way I look at it, is I (along with many many others) am just one of many tools to assist in the battle against cancer. Support is crucial, no matter where it comes from. If you or anyone you know, has any questions that I can help with, don't hesitate to email. If you just want to talk, vent, scream, yell or share the mini miracles that happen to us, you are not "bothering" me at all, it's actually the opposite.....I receive joy from and get a lift from hearing from you. We are ALL in this together......this battle....this war and the more "tools" we have in our arsenal, the better equipped we will be. If you do follow this blog or even check in time and again, please sign up as a follower (I think it's at the bottom of the page, but I'm not totally sure.....but I know it's on there somewhere), just so I can get a better feel of "who" I am talking to. Thank you for being there for me and spreading joy, there's just not enough of it out there, and it doesn't cost a cent to make someone happy and surprised. You'd be amazed, and of course, we all know what comes around, goes around.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Positive News at Doctor's Appt. Today :)

Today was my monthly visit with Dr. Nair. Actually, I go to the doctor's office once a week to have blood drawn and have a complete blood count done (CBC) in the office, to check on what those little bugger white, red, hematicrits and and hemoglobins are doing as well as checking on my levels of coumadin, a blood thinner, which I have to take to prevent blood clots from forming (a common side effect of chemo). All tests came back pretty good...a little low on RBCs but that seems to be my norm, and nothing that needed additional attention. I have always tended to run low RBCs throughout this entire Multiple Myeloma shindig, which will give you anemia, so that's the reason I tend to feel fatigued most of the time. They are not low enough to take some sort of action (ie transfusion), just low enough to be a pain in the ass and make me feel tired! I just do my best to ignore it as best I can, and and go about "business as usual" :) One of the many things I love about Dr. Nair, is I am NEVER rushed when I see him. It's actually almost the opposite! Not only do we go over all the medical "stuff", but he takes more than enough time to find out how I am actually doing (mentally, spiritually etc). How many doctors do you know who do this? Most doctors I have ever gone to in the past, well you know how it is....they seem to be in a race to get in under the allotted 1o minute obligatory time frame allowed. The more patients you see, the more money you make. That sounds so cynical, but sorry to say, it is basically true. It's the way the medical system is set up. My doctor shares new information about MM that he is newly made aware of whether it be through his personal reading or seminars or talking to other doctors, and he just got back from the ASCO yearly meeting, and said he will photocopy all applicable MM material and give it to me at my next visit. Again, he knows I like being an informed consumer and that I appreciate staying up-to-date on my disease, so he is willing to share, all the new ideas, drugs and studies going on that have to do with MM. I really love my doctor for all these reasons and more. Today during my visit, I broached the topic of being at the 2 1/2 year mark since diagnosis and since most (all?) literature say the standard life expectancy is 3-5 years, I asked him what he felt about that as it pertains to me and my particular type of MM. He told me those are "old" numbers and that at this point in time, there have been and continue to be sooooo many advances in the research for MM that those numbers are meaningless at this point. He told me with as little chemo as I have had on this 2nd go round and having my MM numbers as low as they are, we are going to stay the course because I am responding so well. I then asked about the use of Velcade (another semi-new drug being used in MM, instead of the dex) as I had read that it had better results than the dexamethasone I am currently on and he said that he would have considered using it with my current arsenal, but again, because of my positive reaction to the current regime I am on, he is "saving" that for when I truly need it. He is stacking up a bunch of "big guns", in case this becomes a "war", rather than just the battle that it currently is. I am considered to be in "partial remission" at this time, which is the next category down from remission. It means that yes, I am showing there are MM cells in my body, but they are in the normal range and not wreaking any havoc at this time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Most Important Relationship.....

We all treasure our relationships with those we love. We love those in our family and we love those we call friends. There are, of course, different levels of intimacy involved in different relationships. We share more information with certain others more than others. We share more thoughts with certain others more than others, and I suppose that is just because we feel an increased level of intimacy with some people more than others. The most important relationship that we are honored to have in this lifetime though, in my humble opinion, is the relationship we have with ourselves. To strive to build an honest, loving and truthful relationship with ourselves is the one most important thing we can do for ourselves AND for those we claim to treasure and love. Getting to really know how you feel (using feeling words, not thinking words), makes us truly who we really are. Once you become acquainted (or re-acquainted, as the case may be) with yourself, the next level is being able to express those feelings with those we love. I'm not talking "generic" either, I'm talking specifics. I love you because you make me feel___________. I love you because when I'm with you I feel ____________. I love you because when I think about the time/times when we ____________, you made me feel _____________. These are just a few examples of what I'm talking about. To be able to express ourselves at this level, at all times, is what I think we should all strive for. Can you imagine leaving a greater legacy than being remembered as a person who was truthful and loving and honest in all of your relationships? And not even remembered per se, just being recognized and respected and loved NOW for being that kind of person. I know that I WANT to be remembered for being THAT kind of person first and foremost, and recognized now that I am following that path as we speak. It is very important to me. To be able to reach this higher level of consciousness, however, takes a constant striving on our part. An active working on ourselves and the way we feel and a continual consistant way we express ourselves to those we love. What we need to remember though, is this is an ongoing process. Life is a continual process. There are the proverbial 2 steps forward and 1 step back in all our lives. It won't happen overnight, if you haven't begun to explore that part of yourself, nor will it be a one time deal. Getting to truly know and love and forgive and like and be honest with yourself is a constant, daily (minute-ly, hourly) process. I cannot think of a better, more loving way to communicate with those we love though. To be your own true self and be comfortable in your own skin and be able to share that with others is such an yourself and to those we love. I think we all need reminders now and again, of what our priorities are in life and I just wanted to share one of my most intimate priorities.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Walking A Thin Fine Line......

I addressed this gently several entries ago, but want to write a little more about it....thank you for indulging me while I "think and pray out loud". As a person that has a life threatening illness, I find myself walking a thin fine line. What line you say? The thin fine line that the doctors "medical speak" about, the thin fine line that all the research reports, the thin fine line that studies and trials that are done say.....about whatever your particular disease may be and what it holds in store for you. The other side of that thin fine line is my spiritual beliefs, my metaphysical beliefs, and my deep down gut feeling beliefs, that I WILL find a way to live a longer, healthy and productive life despite what "they" say. Many many years ago, I embarked on a quest....a spiritual journey you might say, to get to know myself, understand myself and to figure out the most productive way to handle life "issues". That's when, to make a long story short, I say to all, that my "mantra" for living is the Serenity Prayer. A shortcut refresher...."Lord, Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference". For me, that pretty much is all there is to it. So few words, that to me, explain so much. If I can do something about something, well I'll do my damnedest to it. If I cannot do anything to change the situation, I turn it over to the Universe and then get out of the way! :) (that's the hardest part, by the way!) My present work is cut out for me, I am well aware, but when I compare the strength of MY feelings and put them square up against what "they" say.....well I must tell you, my feelings win out. I can't truly put my full beliefs into what the medical world tells me when placed up against what my higher self is telling me. There are too many unexplainable things that occur in this Universe.....dare I call them miracles? There is SO MUCH more that we do not know, compared to what we do know. (no matter what your IQ is!) I have thought long and hard about even writing about this, as I'm sure some of you are thinking...ok..she's finally lost it (time to check her temperature) LOL :) But to those of you who really know me and my core beliefs and values, understand what I am talking about. I just cannot fully believe that my time is as limited as they say. I refuse to believe it, and am placing my beliefs uppermost at this point and that's my new starting point. Don't get me wrong, the medical profession knows ALOT about alot.....but not everything. They do not have all the answers. They work with numbers and statistics and the scientific explainable. Only the Universe holds all the answers and that's where my strong connection is. There of course is a time and place for medical interventions, that's why the Universe made doctors and scientists, but the greater interventions are from the unknown......I believe we have an untapped power to create and to change so many things that we are unaware of. What made me write about this or even to begin thinking about this part of my life? SPRING CLEANING (I knew it had to have a purpose besides getting rid of old stuff you should have chucked years ago!) When I started the Spring cleaning process over a month or so ago, I pulled out many of my old books (my gosh, some of them are from the 80's when I first started this spiritual journey), and gave myself a short refresher course to begin the quest again and with hopefully a different perspective than over 20+ years ago, (assuming one becomes wiser as the years go by) and felt this overwhelming feeling of a boulder had been lifted off my shoulders......somewhat like I had also been given a map of sorts, to begin anew my return to ACTIVE questing. It's always been there (ie, see Serenity Prayer above), but truth be told, I haven't newly quested in a many years (although I still toss my Runes from time to time) and I interestingly enough (nothing happens by accident) also have been given, within the last few months, some new material to read as well as different visualizations and other tools, to assist in my renewed excitement to begin active questing once again. All of these little pieces came together to gently nudge me to again renew my active commitment to my spiritual self. I pray to be and to remain open to all that is being shown to me. It will come in many forms.....people, places, things, animals, and nature. All we have to do is believe.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Few Days Difference......

What a difference a few days makes....especially when those 2 days are filled with taking antibiotics 3 times a day! LOL Sinus, swollen node on neck and pee pee problems are slowly but surely going away. I can feel the difference in my body. My last entry was written while having a slight fever and aching all over and just feeling downright fatigued and shitty, and yesterday and today I woke up feeling near to normal. ......and yes......feel gratitude and gave thanks for this difference. It again showed me that when we are at our lowest physiologically, it is more difficult to stay positive mentally. I have always believed in the direct mind-body connection, so just my little addition, that at least for me, it is so very true. The "trick" I suppose is to be able to "override" the physical aches, pains etc. and transcend into positive mental-ness WHILE feeling physically ill. do that, my friends, is on my agenda to continually work on. I don't know who said this but it's a quote I remember that says something like....."to reach great heights, you need to go to great depths", something that we should all keep in mind, no matter what your situation may be. To again, really know that deep down, it will get turned around and something better, new and brighter awaits us on the other side of turmoil and trouble, whether it be mental, physical, or spiritual.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Feeling Kinda Low.....

I haven't had such a good week this week, although I'm trying my damndest to "shake it off" and "buck up". I receive emails from several organizations about the disease of Multiple Myeloma, that are full of new information, new drugs, clinical trials etc., basically being very informative about my disease. I've always believed in being an "informed consumer", whether it's buying a product or knowing about your disease. When I was first diagnosed in January of 2007, I searched and researched about this disease, joined online support groups and generally and specifically looked up what it all meant, from lab work results to tests and everything in between. I also think that just having "celebrated" (!?!?) the one year Anniversary of my Bone Marrow Transplant, lots of things have risen to the surface for me in the last week. In addition.....a dear friend, who is one month ahead of me in transplant world, just found out that he too, has relapsed so he is back again on this crazy merry-go-round of cancer world. While reading some of those articles on MM, I came across one that hit me hard. Really hard. A very matter of fact article about death for MM patients, and it outlined pretty much what would happen and why. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I read it, because I don't want any surprises, but it did cast a shadow over how I thought I was handling my disease. It also stated that the "median" age from time of diagnosis until death is 3-5 years, and I am on the 2 1/2 year mark, which in all reality, brings me closer to what is going to be my reality. It made me realize how I can't keep put off getting my affairs in order. It's time. I don't want to sound morbid, it's just where I am right now, and I know you never stay in one place forever, so I do know I will move out of this funk, but honestly, aren't I entitled to be sad sometimes and scared? I am both right now. Denial can be wonderful thing, but you can only do it so long, and no matter how much you want to keep it, reality comes a knockin' with a vengeance. I plan on outliving the "expiration date" label they put on this disease and will fight as hard as I am able, but I also need to be prepared, as you never know what will happen. Like right now, I physically feel really crappy..I have what I think is a sinus infection, the node on the left side of my neck is so swollen it hurts to move my head and swallow and then to top it all off, it burned when I peed this morning, so I may be working on another UTI. That's what happens with MM....your resistance to infections of all kinds decreases because we have a cancer of the immune system. Isn't this the most ironic cancer to have? I have a cancer of the part of my body that fights infections, so my body can't even help in fighting the cancer I have! I really haven't talked about this much till now, although I did send my sister the article about death from MM, because I thought she could handle it out of everyone. I had to laugh though, as she writes back that yes, she too is in denial and wants to keep it fully intact! Ahhhhhhhhhh..what a great defense mechanism it is! So that's where I am today....not feeling physically well, completely exhausted and fatigued for no reason (just finished my 2nd round of chemo so this is my off week) and mentally, I guess I need a break from the ongoing fight, so I'm giving in to tears and feeling sad.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Personal Stuff......

I have just been in a whirlwind of activity these past few weeks, and having so much fun! First thing that happened......on Mother's Day morning, I get a call at 9:15 am and see by the caller ID that its from Lindsay, who lives in Las Vegas. My first reaction to seeing the number was "ut oh" because of our time difference. I knew it was just 6:15 AM in Vegas, and that means for her to call me that early, well, something's just not right, or she hasn't been to bed yet!! So I answer the phone and she explains that she sent me flowers for Mother's Day and the flower guy was standing outside by the garage door, as he needed a signature to leave the flowers. So I was like "awwwwwww", let me get off and open the garage door, get the flowers and I'll call you later. So I hop out of bed (was doing my drink morning coffee, reading the paper routine) and I opened the garage door and there is Linz standing in the driveway! I was stunned! I never dreamed that she was here.....everyone kept the I just grabbed her, held on, and started to cry as I was so happy. Happy Happy tears. I haven't seen her since Christmas, so it had been 4 months since I had seen my baby girl, and that's just too long in my Mommy Book. Linz and I talk almost everyday, but that's just not the same thing as seeing her. Kevin had also come up to stay here for the weekend to celebrate the Mother's Day weekend with me as well as to spend as much time as he could with the girls too, so he was standing there as well. What a surprise and THE BEST Mother's Day present I could ever dream of getting! So we hung out here for awhile and then went to pick up my other daughter Ashley and then went to the Flea and Farmer's Market in Daytona ( gosh, I hadn't been there in like forever!) and walked around and shopped for a while, went to lunch, and then to this specialty chocolate candy store for some goodies, and then came home. The next Day was Sunday, Mother's Day and I had made plans with my mom as she said she wanted to go to breakfast for her "present" so we got up and got to the restaurant around 10:00 am and had a great breakfast at a restaurant owned by a friend of mine. It was me, my mom, Linz, Van and Kevin at breakfast. Kevin left for West Palm Beach after breakfast as it's a 3 hour drive and he needed to get home to do something with his mom on Mother's Day. We all had a great time. Linz then took my car and headed over to Daytona to visit with her sister who lives in Daytona right now, so they visited for awhile and then when Linz came home we went over to her boyfriend's parents house to say "hi" while she was in town and to see his new little nephew who was born while they were in Vegas, so her and Anthony hadn't seen him yet. We stayed for an hour or so, took some photos of the baby for her to take back and then came home to spend the rest of our time together as she was leaving to go back to Vegas early Monday afternoon. On Monday before she left for Vegas, we went to spend some time at my Mom's house as I wanted to give Mom her Mother's Day gift (I got her one of those digital photo frames and had loaded over 400 pictures on it!) and we wanted to play with her new puppy Abby too. So me, Linz and her oldest and dearest friend Melissa went to Mom's for a few hours and then Liss took Linz to the airport. A wonderful present for my Mother's Day, just too short of time :( THEN......
As I wrote on my entry dated May 15th, that day was the 1st Anniversary of my New Birthday.....making it ONE YEAR since having had my Bone Marrow Transplant. About 5:00 pm, I heard the garage door go up and thought it was my brother (who's staying here for 10 days before going back to Colorado).....and the next thing I see is MY SISTER (and Mom) standing in my kitchen holding a dozen roses! AGAIN.....another surprise! She said there was no way she was going to let such an important day go by without being here with me. Who has a better sister than me? NO ONE! She said she came up to spend the weekend together and take me out to my favorite, cook- at- the- table Japanese Restaurant for a celebration dinner, so go get dressed! What fun! We had a great time all weekend, just being together, and looking back over this past year, and all that we have been through. We laughed, we cried, and just thinking where I was a year ago compared to today, is just a blip on the radar screen of life, and yet so significant and many memories were made during the time of my transplant. We were all together for 7 weeks going through this bone marrow transplant process, and the operative word is "all together". I've said it many times and will probably say it a million more.....I COULD NOT have done this without their support. There is just no way. They made it tolerable, fun, less painful, and more laughter. We have a good time just being together anyway, so when you throw in a bone marrow transplant, it just makes it that much more to go through and tell stories about and reminisce. We laughed all over again, about my original Birthday Party, the day of the transplant, when I wore a Birthday Princess Foam crown, Groucho Marx Glasses so I would have eyebrows when I lost my hair (yeah...the hair went but never the eyebrows or eyelashes, thank goodness!).....all the funny cards they bought.....and other goofy presents we just had a ball with. I truly have the best supportive family and sister in the whole world, and give thanks everyday, that she's mine. :) So again, another great weekend of surprise for me from people who love me and want to be with me to celebrate. I am soooooooo lucky. We all spent the weekend together, ( Ashley was with us on Saturday too) grabbed some Mexican food on Saturday night and then Kate had to get going on Sunday and head back home. That's 2 weekends in a row I have had surprises! I'll be bored to tears this coming weekend, when no one surprises me! LOL Anybody up for a road trip to come see me? LOL I've uploaded some photos taken over Mother's Day and my sissie's visit so be sure to take a look. Till later......