Thursday, February 24, 2011

Life After Radiation

Mom finished her radiation on February 7th.  For that last week and the week following she was pretty exhausted.  In fact, the week after it finished, she said she did a lot more sleeping.  She is starting to see her energy level return, but slowly.  I can see it returning also.

Now she is taking the pill that will block her hormones.  She takes that once a day, for 5 years.  There are some worrisome side effects such as muscle pain.  She has been experience an increase in muscle pain over the last few days, but the Dr. would like to see if she can push through for a month.  He says after the first month, some of the side effects, like the muscle pain will go away.  Another side effect that we are not as worried about, is bone loss.  Mom went in a few months back and had a bone density scan and they told her that she had the bones of a 25 year old.  How great is that?  The Radiologist says that because Mom's bones are so healthy to begin with that any bone loss she has will be minimal and not cause Osteoporosis.  This is still causing her some worry though.

She has a follow up with the Radiologist on the 3rd of March and with her surgeon on the 7th.  She will be due for a new mammogram in about 5 or 6 months.  She will now have one on a yearly basis.

When we meet with her surgeon on the 7th, we will talk to him about removing the Port-a-Cath that she doesn't need.  Hopefully, we can get that scheduled quickly.

Thank you all for the love and support you have shown us through all of this.  We wouldn't have handled things nearly as well without the Lord to hold us in His arms and your prayers covering us.
Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Friday, January 21, 2011

12 left

Things are going well.  Mom is starting to get a little more tender now, but it's still not unbearable.  They gave her some cream with a numbing agent in it, and it does help a bit and it hasn't made her itch so far.  We are down to our last 12 visits; 7 more at the regular strenth and then the last 5 are boosted.  It's that last week where we will see a large increase in redness, pain and tiredness.

We saw the Dr. on Wednesday and asked him about some swelling that Mom had noticed on her left arm.  He says he thinks it is lymphedema.  He is recommending some massage therapy to treat it.  We are waiting on a call from the therapist to find out when and where this treatment will happen.  Please pray that this is not a permanent condition and that we can get it under control with the massage.  I do not know how often she will go for treatment, or how long the treatment will go on.  The Dr. did tell us that even though she has good range of movement with her arm, she does need to keep doing the arm exercises they gave her at the beginning of her treatment, because that will help force the fluid away from her hand and back through her body as it should be.

On a side note, Mom's car is having some major problems.  I don't get it all, but I think basically, the engine is shot.  It should be covered under her warranty, except, when Dad bought the car, he put it in only his name.  We spoke with the Attorney General for Idaho, and it sounds like they think KIA should be covering this.  We will have to take Mom's car to Boise on our flat bed trailer, and have them do a diagnostic, which will cost about $150.  In the meantime, she is without a car and Jeff and I are trying to accumulate documentation that will help support our claim that KIA should cover this.  Please pray that we can get this issue resolved quickly and with little to no cost to Mom. 

God keeps giving us opportunities to trust in Him, rely on His provision and rest in His timing.  May we bring glory to Him in each and every situation, giving thanks to Him in the good and the bad.

Standing on the promises of God,

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A New Year

We had a wonderful time over Christmas, with a large chunk of our family coming to visit.  It was crowded, and loud, and tiring and crazy and all together WONDERFUL!

Mom started her radiation the Tuesday before Christmas and is now in her 3rd week of treatments.  We go everyday, 5 days a week, at the same time every day.  The people there are so kind, it makes it easy to go.  the therapy takes about 15 minutes from the time we walk in the door until we walk out again.  Once a week we visit with Mom's Medical Oncologist.

So far, the reactions Mom is experiencing is minimal.  What a huge "Praise the Lord!"  She is just now beginning to have some redness and it is a very small amount and is causing her little to no discomfort.  Even her Dr seemed surprised by how little of a reaction she is having.  It was our joy to tell him that it was because of the faithful prayers our family and friends! 

This next week will see us cross over the "half way through" mark.  I can't wait!  I think we'll celebrate with a Dairy Queen Blizzard.

I have begun memorizing the book of Colossians and am struck by Paul's greeting to the church at Colossae--in chapter 1, verse 2, he calls them "the faithful brothers and sisters in Christ" and then in verses 3 and 4 he says, "we always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God's people."  I have witnessed modern-day faithful brothers and sisters in Christ and basked in the love YOU ALL have for God's people.  I cannot tell you how you have touched my heart.

Thank you all, for being so patient with my hit and miss updates and for continuing to pray even when you didn't know what was going on.

We love each and every one of you!

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Monday, December 20, 2010


Well we are finally done with all the Dr appts that were needed to figure out exactly where we are for Mom's treatment.  After sending her tumor for more testing in San Francisco, the Dr determined that Chemo will not be an added benefit for Mom.  This is a HUGE praise.  We found out today that she will begin her Radiation Therapy tomorrow at 3:30.  She will do this 5 days a week for 6 weeks and then she will start taking a hormone reducing pill for the next 5 years.

Mom is still a little worried about the effects of the radiation on her skin because of her vitaligo.  Please pray that she not burn excessively.

We are excited to have my sister and her husband and their son and their daughter and her husband coming to visit us for Christmas.  We are planning to do lots of things and take TONS of pictures.

We wish all of you a beautiful Christmas, filled with love and the joy of Christ's birth.

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Healing Nicely

We went to see the Surgeon again yesterday and he removed Mom's drain and said she was healing well.  She is still tender in spots but is really looking forward to sleeping without having to worry about drains and such.  We won't go back to see the surgeon for another month for a routine followup.

We found out that the Radiology Oncologist is out of town until December, but they were able to make an appointment with Dr. Smith, the Medical Oncologist for the 19th of November.  We will have quite a few things to discuss with him before we make any final decisions on treatment.

Mom is up to driving short distances again and made it to church on Sunday.  She is very encouraged by her sweet friends and the body of believers at her church.  We are hoping she will get a little stamina back soon so that we can begin our Christmas shopping.  Shannon and Greg and their son, Jason and daughter, Rachel and her husband Justin will be joining us for Christmas this year.  We are hoping to convince my brother, Steve and his family to come as well.  What a delightful family filled Christmas this will be!

Thank you all for your continued prayers and encouraging cards.

Standing on the promises of God, Dori

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Rest of the Story

Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.  Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples.  For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; He also is to be feared above all gods.  For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.  Splendor and majesty are before Him, Strength and joy are in His place.  Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,  Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array.  Tremble before Him, all the earth; Indeed the world is firmly established, it will not be moved.  Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; And let them say among the nations, "The LORD reigns."  Let the sea roar, and all it contains; Let the field exult, and all that is in it.  Then the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the LORD; for He is coming to judge the earth.  O give thanks to the LORD, for He is good; For His lovingkindness is everlasting. 
~1 Chronicles 16: 23-34

Mom and I went for her follow up with the surgeon yesterday afternoon.  He said her incisions were looking great and removed the dressing from them.  She still has some steri-strips under her arm, but those will fall off, gradually, over time.  He didn't remove her drain, which was a bummer, but is better than the alternative of having to go back weekly for some undetermined amount of time to have it manually drained because we took it out too early.  So it's there for at least another week.

Dr Schuss, said that he removed 9 more lymph nodes during her surgery.  Those were all underneath her arm.  She still has some nodes left in her chest near her collar bone, but the ones under her arm have all been removed.  The Sentinel Node that he removed at the time of her lumpectomy was positive for cancer, and he told us yesterday that there was 1 more node that showed cancer from the nodes he removed during this last surgery.  It was a VERY SMALL amount of cancer-less than 1/10 of a mm-though, and so we are happy and Praising God that it is only a total of 2 nodes out of 10 and that the 2nd node has so little cancer in it.

We were hoping to make an appointment to see the Oncologist at this appointment, but the surgeon said we wouldn't make that until he removes the drain.  Mom says she thinks the surgeon has a crush on her and that's why he keeps coming up with reasons to see us on a weekly basis! :)  Kidding, but seriously, he has been a VERY kind and patient doctor and he really does have very pretty blue eyes!

As far as finding more cancer in the nodes, that doesn't really change her treatments.  They are already planning on the Chemo and Radiation.  Mom does have some apprehension about both of these treatments so please pray with us that once we get to the Oncologist, we will get lots of answers and Mom will feel good about whatever she decides regarding treatment.

We go back, AGAIN, to see her surgeon next Monday to HOPEFULLY get her drain removed and make the appointment with the Oncologist.  It would be nice to know what our Thanksgiving and Christmas season will look like so that we can make any adjustments or changes if needed.

Unrelated to the surgery or the cancer, Mom has been having a LOT of really bad back pain (in her shoulder blades) the pain meds she has now barely take the edge off and the Dr gave her a new one to try.  She has also been struggling with feeling nauseous when she eats.  I think once she has the drain removed and she can sleep in more comfortable positions, her back will start to feel better, but I'm not sure what is causing the icky stomach.  We are praying that whatever it is will pass quickly and that these pain meds will give her some relief from the back pain.

We love you all!  Thank you (again and again) for your continued prayers.  It really is humbling to see the love that flows from our friends and family.

Standing on the promises of God,

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Up and Around

The Lord liveth; and blessed [be] my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.  Psalm 18:46

It seems to take me just about as long to find some time for the computer as it does my mom to recover  from her surgery!  So here's the latest;

Her surgery on Monday went well, the Doctor removed as many lymph nodes ans he could and also put in her Power Port.  She was in quite a bit of pain after this surgery and it took a while to get that all under control, but we were able to come home Monday evening.

My Aunt and Uncle decided to stay until Mom was through her surgery and they left early Tuesday morning.  I have been spending the night, here, at Mom's since Monday night.  Can I just say how wonderful and loving our church bodies are?!  My Church Family has not only lifted my Mom in prayer, faithfully, over the last few weeks, they have also been providing meals for my family while I am with Mom so that Jeff and the Girls don't have to worry about fixing dinner.  My Mom's Church Family has also been faithful to pray for her and have been such a source of encouragement for all of us.  They have also pitched in and brought meals here for my Mom.  Thank you, Lord, for a Church that is active in serving and acting as Your hands!  What a blessing to us they have been.

Mom did struggle with itching that we think was caused by her pain meds, but Benadryl allowed her to take them for the first few days to keep the pain under control.  I am glad to say that she is now able to control the pain just using Motrin and the itching is starting to decrease. 

For the most part, we have spent these last few days just resting and enjoying each others company.  Today we decided to break out of the house for a bit and go have some lunch.  Mom was able to shower and get her dressing changed today--you know how much better that always make you feel!  She still has a drain under her arm that has to emptied and can now do that by herself, but she still has a bit of trouble getting her shirts on and off without help.  I will be staying with her for at least one or two more nights and after that I will still bring her meals and help her with her cleaning until she has more strength.

We go back to see her Surgeon late Monday afternoon.  He isn't sure if he will remove the drain at that time or not, but we should have the pathology report back from the lymph nodes he removed on Monday.  We are praying that there is no cancer found there.  At that appointment, we also think we will be making an appointment to see an Oncologist.  Regardless of the pathology report, we do know that Mom will be doing both Chemo and Radiation, it's just a matter of how long and how much.

Mom wanted to send you all a little update as well--

Hi friends,

Thank you for all the prayers you prayed for me!  I certainly felt them all!

Jesus gave me such peace as they wheeled me into the O.R., it was incredible.  He was near me throughout the whole thing and in the worst of the pain.  I had a great surgeon and knew he knew what he was doing and that helped a lot.

Everyone on the staff that was caring for me and talking with my family, was caring and knew their jobs--they were very good at it.

It's nearly Thanksgiving and I am starting to think about that Christmas will not be far behind and I hope I'm ready for them.  I am doing pretty good and do tire easily and am ready for bed soon after 10 p.m.

Dori is taking good care of me.  Shannon was here for nearly two weeks and Scott drops by on his way home from work as often as he can.   I talk to Steve on the phone and know that he and his family are praying for me everyday.  God has blessed me in so many different ways and I am so grateful to Him.

Thank you,

I will update the blog on Tuesday after we see the Dr on Monday.  Hopefully we will have more information.  I keep saying it, and I will keep saying it--Thank you, thank you, for lifting my family in your prayers.  They have buoyed our spirits and helped us to keep our eyes on Jesus.  You have made a difference!

Standing on the promises of God,