Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where did time go?

I can not believe I have already been home in Alabama for just over a month.  It is just crazy fighting so hard for one more day andthen poof...they are gone.
I am trying to get as much life in a day as I can.  In fact, it almost like I have out of body experiences just dealing with the physical destruction of pancreatic cancer.  The tumors create such a havac.  All of it is so weird.
I am trying to think of ways to spoil my family and all of us do something we have never done before, and think of crazy things that you would never do normally because we can not afford it.......right now got Mom and Dad working on a crazy lobster and crab night feast with my family.  All I want to do is spoil them rotten with what little time I have left.
Also hoping to do a road trip with my parents in the motor coach...we have never done that with me on board!
I will blog more now and share the intimacy of saying goodbye. I am 50 years young...way too soon to have to say bye...but thats my hand so watch me play it out!

Thursday, February 28, 2013

What's so special about girls?

WOW I can not believe it has been almost a month since I have poured my heart out on my blog.  I have been distracted with life...mine in particular.
My stomach pain started creeping back early in the month and just progressively got worse.  I have tried to hide it...even tried to pretend that it doesn't hurt.  However, it gets so bad that it makes me even more sick and I end up throwing up.  I am trying to control it with pain medication (oxycotin) and although that helps a little, the pain still controls me not me controlling the pain yet.  As a result, Dr P has moved my check up from March 28th to March 5th.  Yes I will be back in the hospital Tuesday for blood work, xrays, and ct scan.  Perhaps something there will explain my pain and better guide us to get it under control.
I am super excited for a day with some girlfriends tomorrow. They are taking me to the Northwest Women's Show. Sharon, the office manager sent me a complimentary ticket.  How sweet was that??  One of the biggest challenges in battling cancer for me has been losing so many of the physical joys of being a girl.  This show is an opportunity for me to get lost in all things girly for an afternoon and pretend like I do not have cancer.  I am too ill to walk the entire show and I do not want to miss a thing so the girls are going to take turns pushing me in the wheelchair.
I was touched to tears to learn of a charity at the show that helps terminal cancer patients 19 or older.  They kind of pick up where the Make a Wish Foundation leaves off.  The founder Amanda Reynolds reached out to me and I am super excited to meet her in person.  The charity is worth checking out and supporting.  I am sure I will be their biggest fan and advocate with what time I have left.
I love love love being a girl and all the amazing and beautiful girls in my life.  My girlfriends are the wind beneath my wings. They have helped me soar on this journey with cancer and they always remind me how tough I am when it's time to fight. 
Last year I fought that pancreatic tumor with every ounce of me and I won.....although the victory was a short one.  I won.  This second tumor came at a time when I was so weak from battle that now I am just learning to dance with cancer.  It is such a different journey.
I am going back home...home as in my roots.  I am going to spend the month of April with my family in Alabama.  This will most likely be my last trip home so it is all about quality time with my dear redneck family.  Tim is even going to join us for a few days and learn what it's like to be a redneck. LOL
Girls make the world go round...boys just fix it when it breaks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Keep on Moving!!

I am not even going to beat around the bush on this point.  I can honestly tell you that it is so much easier to KEEP moving than it is to stop and try and restart moving.  I think this not only applies to your physically moving but can apply to any area of your life.........even love.  Think about it!!!
As I am venturing back into the gym to try and build some muscle, strength, and indurance I realize this is incredibly hard and painful.  We take for granted our ability to walk from point A to point B until we can no longer do it.........for me just getting through a grocery store to shop is a major and painful task.  I know it will get better though.......but only if I keep the momentum going.  Laying around all day although it feels good and is easy is hurting me more and more......just like the longer you wait to get your personal goals in motion the harder it will be with eaching passing day by doing nothing.
I am up to 30 minutes on the treadmill plus up to 2.4 mph.  It hurts so much and I block out the pain with music.  I can barely step off the treadmill by myself when I am done but I know my body is healing thru the pain.
Tim is right there by my side...coaching, cheering and personal training.  I know nobody wants to see me healthier and happier than he does.  Figure out who your biggest fan is and let them help you with your goal.......whatever that might be.
With new health insurance that took affect on Jan 1st came the need for a new family doctor.  I am so blessed I got a referral from one of my best friends, Dr. Gonzalez.  I met her for the first time today.  I actually felt embarrased going into the appointment.  So many health issues as a result of these past couple years....just felt like I was 90 years old, not 50.  She really made me comfortable and my fears and reservations went right out the door.  I quickly realized I have an advocate that is extremely supportive with a genuine desire to help me on this journey as much as she can.  I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders!!  I have met the perfect person to help guide me and coach with the time I have left.  She is certainly one of my many angels!!
I really had a good day today......much better than I had expected.  We sometimes forget life throws us a good pitch from time to time too. Remember to be grateful!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Radiation Graduation

Today was a big day.  It was my last radiation treatment, forever.  I completed my 6 1/2 week program and it is my understanding you can only go through radiation once in a lifetime.  I am fatigued yet excited to be all done.  Now I get a month off with no trips to the hospital.  I can officially start my rehab.  Oh I know I still have cancer, regardless I plan to get back in shape.  I even joined our little local Maple Valley gym today.  This is really going to be a challenge for me.  I am so used to being strong and when I jump into the workout is with both feet running.  Go big or go home!!  However, that motto will not work now, in fact it will hurt me.  I have absolutely no muscle mass anywhere on my body.  I know only lost weight along with my ass on this journey but I lost even enough muscle to lift 10 lbs.  I do not know if I can even walk 10 minutes on a treadmill but tomorrow will tell.  I am really lucky to be here and even have an opportunity to get back in shape.
Radiation was fun today....they played music that all had JUMP in the title...they took pictures which I will post tomorrow and I got to rign the bell three times!!  I also got a big hug from everyone that has been on this journey with me and a certficate of completition. LOL. I felt like a kindergardener on the last day of school.
My joints hurt so bad, turtles move faster than me, I have constant ringing in my ears, insomnia, headaches, extreme tooth sensitivity, mouth pain and tingles in my fingernails and toenails but other than that I AM ALIVE!!
We do not know if any of my treatment the past several months has impacted PJ, my tumor.  We will not know anything until my next full check up on February 7th.  So my job now is to focus on all things good and forget that I have pancreatic cancer.  Best way to do that is being in the moment LIVING my life on my terms.
I am so grateful for all my girlfriends and son that were my designated drivers so I would not get a DWC (driving with cancer) issue.
More tomorrow with pictures and a gym update!!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Eating or Indulging?

OMG I can not believe how much I have already learned about diet and nutrition.  Since my whipple surgery just a year ago I have had to adjust my diet to 5 or 6 mini meals a day.  Seriously, if I eat more then one cup of food  I get terribly sick and end up throwing up.  Since this second tumor I am having a hard time even with those quantities.  Digesting anything is a major task for my body.  Needless to say I have a loss of appetite.
I am often shocked at the size of our meals!!!!!!  Geez everything is supersized.  When we eat out I get at least 3 to 4 meals out of my one single dinner.  It all makes sense now why most of us are over weight. LOL
I have a new mindset.  A new me!!  I now am eating to save my life.........eating for me is no longer an indulgence.  I can not afford that anymore.  I have been researching the natural foods that are the highest in antioxidants and those that have studies to support that they fight cancer.  I believe the chemo and radiation have jumpstarted me to a possible longer life but it is up to me to feed my body with exclusively healthy choices.
I do not want to overload you with data but do want to share what I learn in tidbits so hopefully you will remember them.
I have put together a list of the top 30 foods that are loaded with antioxidants and help reduce free radicals.  I also have researched the top supplements to fight cancer and then researched the top foods to find those supplements.  It is amazing how God has given us so much from the earth to keep us healthy.........yet we suck the nutrition of out of almost everything and then turn around and buy a pill to get the vitamin and minerals we need.  I am determined to take less pills!!
I hope you all know by now that the FDA suggested requirements do not mean shit.  That is simply the bare minimum you need for your body to will find that to actually be healthy and fight off major diseases such as cancer you better take in a hell of a lot more than the bare minimum.  Some vitamins and minerals are dangerous in too high of levels so do your homework.
I have inoperatable tumor wrapped around a main artery.  My diagnosis??  Death.  However, I want to prove that I can beat that redundant five year benchmark for pancreatic cancer.  I am over a year an a half so hope to squeeze a good quality three and half more years of LIVING.
So something I found interesting was selinium.  It came up as a supplement so I had it on my health store list of things to pick up until I read about brazil nuts.  I only need to eat two brazil nuts a day to get the dosage I need to reduce free radicals and kick this tumor's ass!!  I was thrilled that I did not need to take a pill..........just eat two nuts a day!!  I hope you will think about taking two a day with me.
Jump on this band wagaon with me and lets eat to save all our lives.  Throttle back on your portion more frequently...and choose to only put foods in your body that will fight off cancer.  Say Bye to velveeta and hello vida loca!!
Honestly I can not believe how easy this paradigm shift is....what are you willing to do to save your life??  Please do not wait until your body has a tumor or other disease.
I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge and even better my positive results.  I will understand if you can not buy into this just yet and need to see how I beat cancer thru diet...nutrition...and excercise.  Lots of good stuff ahead of us.
Transitioning from a processed junkie to 80 percent of my food intake being raw organic from the earth is a big deal!!  We all know how few fruit n veges I eat but I am drawn to them when I learn what they do......I mean really two nuts a day??  How easy is that?
Next stop...blueberries!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not all cancer is created equal

Is it just me or do you think it is alarmingly odd that something as common as cancer is not contageous?  Marinate on that thought for awhile and hopefully it will encourage you to think twice before putting something in your body...and be more aware of what you expose it too.  Seriously I am beginning to think there is more stuff out there that causes cancer than doesn't.  I am not saying we need to live in fear of cancer but we should be much more conscience of preventing it.
I had a very intersting meeting on Wednesday after radiation with cancer advocate from the American Caner Society.  I made a confession to her out loud that I want to share with you.  I do not know if it is normal for most cancer patients to feel this way but sometimes I get jealous of other cancer survivors and even patients!!  For example...I met a much older gentleman downstairs in radiation that is on the Virginia Mason radiation/chemo combo from hell treatment. He shared his story and from diagnosis to whipple surgery was 2 weeks!!!  He was doing the combo pack as part of his after treatment and expected to do well from that point on.  I felt cheated that both my tumors have been attached to main arteries so not operable at diagnosis.  I am also jealous of breast cancer and all the money they raise and the awareness for early detection...not to mention everybody like boobies.  There is just nothing sexy about the pancreas.  In fact most people probably do not even know what it does.  I am on a mission to beat the shit out of this second tumor so I can be a voice for pancreatic cancer!!  Both my tumors were found in the month of May...I love May and cinco de mayo but wonder now is it going to be.."Here some chips n salsa and some cancer to go along with that".  I do not know if I am just in denial but there just has to be a bigger reason and picture for this double wammy with cancer and I think it is to be a voice for pancreatic cancer.
I joke around a lot about my tumor and refer to it as my roomate that I will be living with the rest of my life.  It was uninvited by me personally but for some reason my body just let her come on in and make herself at home. LOL. We need to name her...I prefer PJ but am open to suggestions.  Then peeps can just ask me how PJ is doing and I can respond accordingly.  She is a moody bitch I will tell you that right now!! Imagine if you had a tempermental uninvited guest move into your house!!
So on a more informative note...Dr. B is going to look into possibly increasing the radiation dosage daily in an effort to help make it more effective towards my goal.  However, he has to be careful not to put more toxins in my body than I can handle.  I have no idea how he figures all that out but will keep you posted as I learn more. 
Please continue to pray for my miracle........I need PJ to unwrap herself from my artery so Dr. B can go in and surgically remove her.  You are all angels to me holding my hand on this journey.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The straw that broke the camel's back

I am not really sure where to start.  Three weeks ago I started phase 2 an since day 1 my health has got progressively worse.  After two weeks I decided I needed to take a break.  Spending my 50th birthday over a toilet was a big hit for me.  I was so grateful that Tim organized a celebration dinner before treatment got started.  Even though the doctors told me this was going to be very difficult and that I was going to get very sick....I thought I would be different that I could mentally control the physical outcome.  You know that OH it won't happen to me feeling.  Sometimes my optimism is so far out of realty...but that's just how I roll.
After two weeks of being confined to the bed and bathroom I decided to take a week off to try and bounce back with enough strength to get me thru another 3 and half weeks of treatment.  Day after day was the same and I was not bouncing back.  Tanner's big graduation came and went and I was so deeply hurt that I could not be there.  I was so emotional and realized I am missing big LIFE things and that is not OK.
I worry about some of these chemo side affects being the piercing jaw pain that I periodically get.  I am sick of being so sick and not haing a life worth living.  Who cares how long you live if that time is confined to a bathroom?  I had a eureka moment and knew the time has come for me to take charge of my body.  It is mine and the only body I will get.  I met with a different oncologist on Monday and he just helped me confirm my more chemo or interferon.  I have decided to continue the radiation but want to look into more holistic measures to improve the quality of my life.  I have always lived in the moment for as far back as I can remember...but not for the moment.  I always have goals and dreams.
I want to break the five year survival benchmark but not at the price of my spirit.  I love family and my friends and want to make as many memories and inspire as many people as possible.  I can not and will not do it from bed.  I want to concentrate on a healthy diet that includes juicing and get back in the gym after radiation therapy.  I probably can not walk ten minutes but I need to start somewhere and build my strength up so I can be well enough to travel this summer.
Nobody knows my expiration date...not even the doctors.  It might be six months or six years...........but I need to make the time healthy and happy.
I have lived such an extraordinary life and do not want to stop now just because I have cancer.  Cancer is a bully and I refuse to give in anymore than I already have.  I am in control and the one with the power.
If any of you know of any good cancer fighting books using nutrician and natural them to me....this is my path now.
I love all of you for supporting my decision to cease treatment and just savor what time we can spend together.  You all make my world go round.....the love is so just bless my life beyond measure.
I promise to share with you what I learn on this new path in hopes that it might help you prevent cancer in your body.