Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thurs Aug 30th

Last Herceptin treatment.....check. How Sweet are those words??? Pretty darn sweet to me! My doctor's appointment went well today. Dr. M said that I should ask the plastic surgeon about the cosmetic outcome of doing just the one side of if she would recommend doing a mastectomy to the other side also and then doing the reconstruction. I would have to find a different general surgeon in Salt Lake to do that at the same time as reconstruction and then they would start the micro surgery if I did that, so there is something else I need to think about. The area around my port has been hurting on and off today with shooting pains around it, she said just to be aware of it and let her know if it kept hurting. She said it may be a few days before it stops if it tore away from the chest wall at all during the mammogram. Nice.. She also recommended seeing a physical therapist about the pain and discomfort in my arm. Herceptin went smooth today. Nothing too exciting, I had my emla cream on since before my dr. appt so it was nice and numb and couldn't feel them tap it or take it out. That was a nice switch. My mom took me out to lunch afterwards and we met my brother Mason.
The twins turned 3 today. Happy birthday to Cody and Alex. They are both working on making the 3 with their fingers and learning that they are 3. Every time someone asked them today how old they were it was 6. Hmm, not quite. This afternoon I tried to squeeze in some work but ended up trying to sort out some insurance issues and then getting all packed up ready to go to my sisters. We are going to leave after Jon gets off work early tomorrow morning at 2 or 3. Hopefully the kids will sleep most of the way there!! Wish us luck.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Wed Aug 29th

I had to go into the breast diagnostic center this morning for a mammogram on the left breast. For those of you who haven't had the experience of having one yet, they really aren't that bad, just uncomfortable. Unless you have a port on your left side and they pinch that in the machine....not fun. The machine was pinching my port against my skin and now I have a lovely purple pinched mark on top of my port. Hopefully next time I go in I won't have the port there to deal with anymore.
I got an email today from the "pink power mom contest" that was confirming some of our travel arrangements and remembered that there were a few people that wanted to read my nomination letter from my friend Alyssa who nominated me for the contest. Here it is:

Eliza was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in September 2006. This was a huge shock to all of us not only because you don't expect something like this to ever happen but because she is so young. Eliza is married to Jon has three beautiful children, Olivia is 4 and the twins Cody & Alex are 2. She is a stay at home mom who while taking care of her children worked 20+ hours a week from home. She is very involved in her church, a local twins club, and staying close to family & friends. Because Jon works out of town during the week this made it especially scary for what we new she was about to embark upon. She began 6 months of intense chemo followed by a full mastectomy of her right breast and is now undergoing 6 weeks of daily radiation. This process was very painful for her at times as she lost her hair, fingernails and even developed burns in between her fingers. So painful to the point she couldn't button her own jeans. Eliza's attitude and commitment to her family is priceless. She is the most dedicated and hard working woman, who if you didn't know, would never suspect she was fighting this horrible illness. She has created a blog for everyone to view her progress and her fight against breast cancer. The link is Eliza continues to be very active in her local cancer support groups and is now in the process of helping recruit people to participate in the "Relay for Life". The amount of time she dedicates to her family, her job and cancer awareness ceases to amaze us all. She is the true definition of Wonder Woman. By accepting Eliza for one of these positions you would be capturing the true essence of a Survivor. She is a young mother, wife and an just an awesome person! She is a shining example of where perseverance, hard work and a positive attitude will get you. We love her dearly.

What a nice letter huh? Olivia has a short day on Wednesday at school. Our district does an early release day once a week on Wednesday for teacher planning. She came home all excited to tell me about how if her classmates were good they get to fill up a jar with marbles and when it is to the top they can have a "Ba-jama" party with popcorn. Ha! She cracks me up. I tried to do my hair this morning the way the lady did it for me on Monday, what a joke. I ended up trying to clip it since I had all this product in it and it wasn't working. I might have to hire someone to come over every day to do it for me. Just kidding, I need to go back in and have her show me what to do again. So my very last Herceptin treatment is tomorrow. I can hardly believe it, oh and it is also the twins 3rd birthday. Yikes, I can hardly believe that either. 24 months until they start kindergarten, the count down is on!!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Monday Aug 27th

We had a great weekend. We went on a day trip with the four wheelers on Saturday and Olivia rode hers all by herself for the first time. She did great! We met up with our friends Vernon and Kira and Kira's son Riley. Brad and his son Austin rode up with us and brought their dirt bikes. Did I mention I am in love with my big car? Here is my biker girl, all decked out!

It was so nice outside and all of us really enjoyed a fun ride and the wonderful mountains. Here is Vernon, Jon and I. Olivia and I have matching pink helmets. Ha!

I've been dealing with a very irregular cycle and really bad cramps and stomach aches ever since I stopped treatment. I have been on a 2 to 3 week cycle and can't remember ever being so miserable while dealing with my period. I hope to be able to talk to my doctor about it on Wednesday but I am not sure there is anything that will help since I am not allowed to take birth control any longer and the last time they tried to regulate my cycle with progesterone I felt like I was having an out of body experience being so moody and upset every time someone looked at me a little weird. I guess we will see what she has to say. I stayed at home all day on Sunday and sat on the computer. Didn't do much moving around which seemed to help. Maybe this is just my new normal. Darn it, I hope not!

Today was a big day. Miss Olivia started kindergarten this morning.

She has one of her girlfriends, Bella, in her kindergarten class and was excited to go. They were both really excited. My friend Aislinn, Bella's mom, and I were watching them walk into the school and she started crying. Since I am a sympathy crier then I started crying. What a funny pair we are! Olivia brought home these ribbons that they cut and colored. Hers says I survived my first day of kindergarten and mine says my mom survived my first day of kindergarten. It was cute.

Today was the STYLE magazine photography shoot. After I dropped off Olivia I went to O'hanna's Salon and got my hair styled and cut a little bit. She did a great job and gave me some tips on how to wear it and what products would go well with it. Hopefully I can get it to where I like it a bit more. Then we all went to Lydia's house (which is beautiful) and waited in line to get our make up done and do our pictures. Since I was one of the last people to do my hair I was one of the last people to do pictures. We had our make up done by Lori a Mearle Norman consultant. She did great. I don't usually wear darker make up or lip stick but it looked wonderful with my outfit. I wish I had some pictures to post. Hopefully I can scan them in from the magazine when it comes out and show everyone then. It was such a fun day and very neat to get to meet all sorts of other women in various stages of treatment and survivorship. I am truly amazed by each and every one of their stories. What a courageous group of women.

This evening I went to my cancer wellness class at miramont and did weight machines. I am sore already but I hope that this will help me stay healthy and strengthen my muscles. So far it has been great and I hope to be able to continue going after the class is over. I uploaded all of our four wheeling pictures and Olivia's pictures on to my snapfish account. You can view them by visiting the link on the side of my blog that says Eliza's pictures.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Aug 24

We have had a busy week. Jon ended up having to give his notice to his job right now since our insurance situation didn't work out the way we had anticipated. Jon will be going back to work for Source, the company that he was working for before he changed jobs still doing refrigeration. Unfortunately we have come to realize that being on group insurance and having a good insurance policy is not something that we can do without and are pretty much married to that need for at least the next 5 years and probably the rest of my life.
Tuesday I went in to Designs (a boutique in Fort Collins) and was fitted for my outfit for the October issue of STYLE magazine. It was fun to go into a store I wouldn't normally shop in and pick out something fun to wear for the magazine photographs. I went with my friend Debbie, who I met in treatment, and is also doing the STYLE magazine photo and her daughter. We met Lydia (the founder of Hope Lives!) and her daughter there as well. I picked out a silk dress with a pink and purple busy pattern on it that looks like I am wearing pajamas since it isn't a fitted style but was also a little big. They will pin it in the back for the photo so it is a bit more like a dress and less like my pj's. Lydia's daughter found me these really pretty earrings that have pink rhinestones on them are are much bigger than anything I ever wear, but will look nice for the picture. I am excited to do the photo on Monday and get my hair and make up done. Olivia had library books that were due back on Tuesday and since she was gone decided to take the twins to the library to pick out some books. They were so excited that they got to pick some out to borrow. I think I will take them to the library a few times a month when Olivia starts school. We met Jon for dinner at Applebees and the waiter turned out to be a friend of mine from high school. It is always fun to run into people who you haven't seen in awhile. It was also funny to be out to eat without Olivia. Much easier when it is one parent to one child.
Wednesday I met John, Clara, and Olivia at the Zoo with the twins. The 5 of us toured the Denver Zoo for a good part of the day. The kids loved seeing the animals but Cody was definitely more interested in pulling the wagon and seeing the pools of water or waterfalls in the animals habitats then actually looking at the animals. What a funny kid.

We did ride on the train and the carousel and that was pretty fun for all of them.

As the afternoon wore on it was hard to get them to stay by me and this was the first experience without using a stroller since the twins just will not stay in the stroller any more.

There were bees all over too. Olivia was absolutely terrified of them and would scream every time they came near her. After about the 4th time of this screaming episode I was telling her to stop screaming and she was hysterical. She practically fell out of the wagon and said I am not going to stop screaming that bee just bit me. She was eating cotton candy at it landed on her thumb to get some and ended up stinging her. She was crying for at least a half an hour. I felt so bad. I have never been stung, but have heard that it hurts pretty bad. We took her to the first aid station and they put some insect bite stuff on it and some ointment. After that we called it a day since everyone was tired and poor Olivia wanted to go home and see her daddy.

Alex and Cody were pretty happy to have Olivia home and the girls got right down to playing as soon as we were home. They played dress up and came out of the room saying they were ready to go to the beach. Goofy girls!Thursday we met my friend Abbey and her kids at the park to play in the morning and then Alyssa and her kids met us out there to play too. It was almost chilly here on Thursday, it was funny to start to feel a little like fall already. On Thursday Olivia had her ice cream social at her school Centennial Elementary to meet her teacher and walk around the school. We went in and met her teacher, Mrs. Kaufman. She walked around her classroom and saw where she would be sitting.

She wasn't to sure about wanting to stand right next to her, but she seems very nice and we are excited for her to start kindergarten. What a big girl.

Today we didn't do anything too exciting. I worked and cleaned house and then we went over to my mom's for dinner. My aunt Nancy and Uncle Ray are in town to see my grandma and so we went over to have dinner with the family. It was great to see them, since they live in CA and we don't get to see each other that often.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tues Aug 21st

Here are pictures from last Friday night. I went to dinner with my breast cancer girls. These were all women that I met during treatment that are at various stages of treatment themselves. They are all such amazing women and each of them has had an impact on my process with cancer. What a strong group of positive survivors! I love you guys! We had dinner at PF Changs (yummy) and then Lanie and myself went to see the movie Stardust. I wasn't too excited to see the movie, it is a fantasy and those usually aren't my thing but it was actually really cute. It sorta turned out to be a romantic comedy and I would recommend seeing it. In the movie this witch (Michelle Pfifer) drinks this stuff to be young again and every time she uses her magic she starts turning old. This one part she reaches up to touch her hair and a huge chunk of it falls out. I turned to Lanie and said, "Oh honey, I know exactly how you feel!" We were laughing so hard. It was funny.
Saturday Jon went with some buddies for a boys weekend up at a friends ranch in WY. They took their four wheelers and I guess shot prairie dogs and other such boy things. He had a great time. The kids and I went to a birthday party and then just laid low for the rest of the day on Saturday and Sunday also.
We met Jon's aunt and uncle John and Clara on Monday and went to lunch at chick fil a with the kids. They took Olivia with them back to Denver to spend a few days and play. She always has a blast doing that. She called last night and already they had done a ton. They took her to play golf with them and she was all excited about the golf cart and helping pick up the balls. They went to Red Robin for dinner and the Disney store afterwards and when she called they were painting nails. I asked if she was being a good girl and she was like, "Mom sometimes I am a good girl when the babies aren't around and I have some of my own time." It was funny. Okay Olivia... We are meeting them at the zoo tomorrow and hanging out there for the day. Should be fun.
I signed up for a program at a local gym, Miramont, called cancer well fit. They do classes on M and W nights and then give you a free membership to the gym while you're participating in the 10 week program. It is basically supervised exercise and then they help you with areas you are having difficulty in. They also talk about being healthy in general. I am hoping that this will help with the soreness in my arm. I am having some difficulty stretching it different ways and lifting with that arm.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Aug 17th

It has been 10 days since I last updated my blog. Crazy. I am totally slacking. I even missed buddy check 9 day. If you didn't do your self check, get on it!
I haven't been up to much lately. Just working and keeping track of my kiddos. Cody has decided that he likes to play inside Olivia's kitchen. The picture was too funny to pass up sharing...

Olivia broke out her pop beads the other day and made matching necklace, ring, and bracelet for her and mommy. Here is me with my curly, gelled up hair...

Lots of stuff going on with my support group Hope Lives! here in Fort Collins. This is the group that pays for breast cancer patients to be provided with 2 services per month during their treatments. I have used my services to have my house cleaned by merry maids. It has been wonderful to have that part of things taken care of when I wasn't feeling well. They do a big gala in October to raise money for these services to provide to women. They do a fashion show during the gala and use women in the group to model formal gowns and have asked me to be a part of the fashion show. I get to go and pick out a gown from a local merchant and then they do my hair and make up and have royal treatment the day of the event. The event will be Oct 6th at the Hilton in Fort Collins. It is a formal attire event and they have dinner, dancing, auctions, the fashion show, and I think they also have a poker thing of some kind going on. Jon will be my escort and be in the fashion show also. Tickets are $150/ person and it is a benefit to raise money for Hope Lives!. They also do corporate tables that seat 10 for $1600. If anyone is interested in going and supporting this or think your boss would want to purchase a corporate table to support this cause it would be fun to have some familiar faces there. I know they do a bunch of advertising for corporate table owners.

Hope Lives! also helps put out a local magazine called STYLE that promotes breast cancer awareness and local businesses. In their October issue for breast cancer awareness month they have a handful of clients that model for the magazine and tell their inspirational stories that I will be involved in. They take you to a fitting at a local small business merchant in Fort Collins and let you pick out an outfit and then the morning of the shoot they do your hair and make up for the photo shoot. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun. They do the shoot on Aug 27th, Olivia's first day of school. I was supposed to have my last herceptin treatment that day but pushed it back a few days so I could participate in this to the 30th. Which is the twins birthday. This is all kinda funny but last year on Olivia's first day of preschool was the day this whole process got started for me. I had to go in for my PETscan in the morning and then had surgery that afternoon to get my port placed. Now that my last treatment was moved to the twins birthday, this was also significant because the 30th was the day that I was officially diagnosed and got word from my doctor that the biopsy came back as cancer. I suppose it has come around full circle. I have a Dr. appointment on the 30th and will be talking to my oncologist about the process from here on out.

I am also hoping to participate in race for the cure this year, which is the day after the Hope Lives! gala, October 7th. I know everyone who participated last year said it was amazing and the news coverage was truly inspiring being able to see I 25 shut down and 65,000 people taking to the streets to raise money to fight breast cancer. If anyone is interested in doing this with me and my family, let me know. I think it should be something to remember!!

Olivia got her immunizations this past week for kindergarten. I made Jon take her because I am always a mess when she has to get shots. Or when any of the kids have to get shots for that matter. We thought she would have to have 4 but there is one they do in a combination so she really only had 3 shots. She had an allergic reaction to the DTaP one last time she had it and got the same reaction this time. A large red area on her leg and it was swollen, hard, and very hot to the touch. They told us to see if she developed a bad fever, but the fever never came, thank goodness. All and all she was a trooper and is now officially ready for kindergarten.

Jon only had to work his 40 hours this week so was off since yesterday. We took the jet ski out for the first time since Glendo and played yesterday afternoon. Today we took the kids to city park pool in Fort Collins and had a great time playing there until it started to lightning and we had to leave the pool. I am going out with some of my cancer chicks from chemo or that I have just met over the past year this evening to PF Changs and to a movie. I am excited to see them and be able to catch up and just hang out now that we are all healthy and either done or almost done with treatment.

We are still planning on going to my sister Toni's over labor day weekend in Salt Lake. My other sister Amy and her family from California are driving out as well and we are all going to hang out. I have an appointment to see the micro surgeon on that following Tuesday and hopefully be able to nail down a decision about what I want to do for reconstruction. The kids are all so excited to go and my sister suggested that we make a paper chain to count down the days. It has been fun for them to go and take a chain off every day. I also took some pictures of my hair so everyone could see how much it is growing. One of my friends I met at chemo suggested getting a straightening iron after I was complaining how curly and wavy it is. I did that last week, and actually like it much better.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tues Aug 7th

So I did venture out to Herceptin alone today. Jon actually took the kids with us and then took the kids to the park while I went to treatment. It was a bizarre day at treatment. I walked in and all 13 or 14 treatment chairs were all taken and I had to wait. I told my nurse Jane, how depressing that there are so many sick people that they don't even have enough treatment chairs anymore. She said Monday and Tuesdays are always busy, but when I used to go every week it was never close to being "packed" in the treatment room. My oncologist is moving offices to a bigger space at the beginning of September to the Harmony and Timberline PVH location. It is supposed to be really nice. Sad to see so many more people getting sick. Darn Cancer! I just sat and started reading the latest Harry Potter book and took advantage of having to sit and do nothing for awhile. I don't know what my deal is but I totally crashed this afternoon. I didn't end up napping but I was so tired and just really out of it. I think that the treatment itself just makes me really tired. I was pretty worthless for the rest of the day. I tried to work but I just couldn't concentrate. I took the kids to the park by the house for a little this evening and then my friend Courtnee stopped by with her kids to say hey. We do fondue night a few times a year with a few couples and we planned it for this Friday. I am really looking forward to it!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Monday Aug 6th

Doing my usual staying up late with Jon working nights. I usually work a bunch at night when he is working nights also, which is good so I can get lots done but I always lose track of time and stay up way to late. :-)
We were bummed we didn't end up getting to go camping and ride the 4 wheelers but hopefully we will be able to get out at least one more time before the season is over. We had a pretty low key weekend getting misc things done around the house and going to church yesterday. We sang this hymn in church yesterday called Did you think to pray? I really like this song, and have gone over the lyrics in my head many times through the last year. The chorus says "O how praying rests the weary! Prayer will change the night to day; So when life seems dark and dreary, Don’t forget to pray." I can't count the number of times I would lay awake in bed mulling over things in my head and would think, man I just need to go to sleep already and remembered I had forgotten to say my prayers and would feel much better afterwards. Or even just in the middle of the day when things were going wrong or I was troubled with something or another. It is always comforting to know that heavenly father is watching over us and can hear and answer our prayers.
I worked for most of the morning and ended up going to the dentist this afternoon so he could fix a cavity that was starting to catch on my tongue. Feels much better (smoother) now. I also did my grocery game shopping and filled the car with gas. May seem funny I mention that but it is such a process, seriously. There are only a few "cheap" stations that carry diesel so I always take it to the Kings Soopers to get the fuel discount and then of course there are only 2 or 3 diesel pumps and then car is such a huge beast and the station is always so busy, I always feel like I am going to run into someone or something trying to wait in line and maneuver around everything else. Sheesh! Oh well, small price to pay for the vehicle of my dreams with tons of room for the kids to spread out.
My mom and dad went to CA to visit my sister today which leaves me alone for the first time EVER to go to my herceptin treatment. My mom is so awesome! She always comes with me to all my appointments and treatments. I hate having to go alone. Everyone is always nice but I just hate being there and it makes it nice to bring company. I am such a baby. I suppose I will braving it alone for the first and only time tomorrow. My appointment is at 11:30 if anyone decides to feel sorry for me and tag along. hint, hint.. :-) I always felt sorry for the people that had to be there by themselves and so lucky to have someone that would come with me, but perhaps some prefer to be there alone for whatever reason. Well off to bed!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Saturday Aug 4th

Wow, I can't believe it is August already. Yikes. Seems like the summer always goes by so fast. He has been rainy and overcast here the last few days but still hot during the day. We didn't end up going camping this weekend because Jon had to work so I am trying to get some stuff done around the house. Going through the never ending stack of bills, mail, and everything else that gets piled on the counter and doing laundry. Jon's new job is going well and keeping him busy and of course the kids and I love that he is working here and not out of town for the whole week. Jon is also in the process of doing some fix up things to the jeep so we can try and sell it. For those of you that know us, I think Jon has thought about selling his jeep about a hundred times but after driving it almost never this summer I think he is realizing that it just isn't practical to keep around any longer. If anyone knows someone who is interested in possibly purchasing it, let us know. I think he has a few leads but nothing set in stone. Our neighbors just put their house on the market, yesterday. I think that brings the total houses for sale on our street to like 5. I can't believe how many people are trying to sell and not getting anywhere this summer. The market is horrible here. My sister just put her townhouse on the market and sold it in 2 weeks after a ton of people came to look at it in the Salt Lake area. I was stunned it sold so fast. It's crazy that the market is so different from here to there. Anywho...enough rambling.
We had a busy week. Jon was working nights and trying to sleep during the day which is always a bit challenging. I always feel bad because the kids aren't exactly quiet. I have been working and staying busy with the kids. We went to the park a few times this week for playgroup and for a going away party for a family at church that is moving. We are all so sad to see them go, they are such a great family but he found his dream job and the rest is history. They will really be missed. They have 2 girls that babysit for me and it is always hard to try and find sitters. Our family will really miss them. Good luck Andrew and Denise, we love you!! We are going over labor day to Salt Lake for my reconstruction consultation with the micro surgeon and to see my sister Toni and her husband Doug. My oldest sister Amy and her family are also driving there over labor day and so we will all get to hang out. My kids are so excited. Olivia asks me everyday when are we going to Toni and Doug's? Cole's going to be there right? (my nephew) How many days? She is funny. It is hard to tell her because she hasn't really grasped the concept of what a week is so I keep telling her in 4 Sundays. She is also excited to go in our "new" car and have room to spread out. It will be our first road trip. We are all looking forward to it. I also finished my book this last week "It's not about the Bike", the Lance Armstrong story. It was pretty good. I was expecting it to be mostly about cancer and the foundation he formed but in my opinion it was a little about cancer and mostly about his cycling career. It was interesting and still a good read though. My original opinion of him being pretty cocky didn't change much and there were a few places in the book that he was rude to nurses that didn't really impress me much but his overall attitude of being determined to make it and not being afraid to get 2nd and 3rd opinions I thought was awesome. I have seen and heard lots of people that see one doctor or one surgeon and don't bother with the 2nd opinion or to be more informed on their health care decisions. Knowledge is power and the first opinion you come across is not always the right one for you. The one comment I have heard a lot about him is what a jerk he is for leaving his wife who stood by him through cancer treatments and everything. Although the book says nothing about their split up because it happened after the book was written, he wasn't married or even dating his wife during his treatments. They met at a meeting while trying to organize and start up his cancer foundation. He and his mom were super close and is probably the true definition of a "mama's boy". All and all a good book and story and I learned a ton of stuff about cycling that I never knew. Still think he is very cocky and has a potty mouth. In my free time (yeah right, like I have any of that) I am going to finally start the 7th Harry Potter book. I also hope to figure out how to hook up my video camera up to the computer and find out how to put video on my blog. I caught the kids singing the other day and it was so cute! I want to share! I was hoping it would be hot today and we could take the jet ski out but it is still overcast, so not looking too promising.