Saturday, August 30, 2008

August 30, 2008

I hope you enjoy the pictures, I was getting a little tired of looking at myself everytime I wanted to blog. So enjoy! These are mostly from the spring; I'll try to get some more recent ones up later.

We'll it's started- the hair lose or possible thinning, but I think I'll end up shaving head in the next couple weeks. That's why I decided to update the photos. In case you're not local, I cut my hair pretty short a couple weeks ago. It's a real cute and sassy cut and has been fun. But now, whenever I wash it, put gel in it or brush it, hair just come off in my hand an covers it. YUCK! Oh well. Perspective and priorities: having a full head of hair is not one of mine. Being cured and enjoying the good days, now those are some real concerns.

Today was a very humbling day. My regular house cleaner help, my dear friend Mary Pitts was down with the flu this week, so I asked my friend Cindy to see if she coud pull together a few people to thoroughly clean our house. Especially with my low blood counts I thought that would be helpful. Cindy found 4 lovely women to help. As they were busy downstairs, mopping, scrubbing, vacuuming and dusting, I lay in bed resting and feeling very humble. How amazing that this group of women who didn't even know each other before today came together to do something so generous for our family. Some know us well, some just a little. I realized that laying there, each important part of our family's life was represented. A women from St. John's MOMS group helped, also an Edgemont neighbor, a parent from St. John's Catholic School and a friend from my old RE days at St John's. SO thank you April, Dori, Vicky and Sue. My family and I really appreciate your help and sacrifice on this holiday weekend. Today was truly a holy day for me. God bless you all.

Of course I can't fail to mention all the great gals that have been bring us meals too. You also are a blessing. So from this week-thank you Dione, Shannon and Anita-we ate it all!!!

We love it all! in hope and joy, Teresa

Friday, August 29, 2008

8-29-08

So here I sit getting my chemo. Dave is out running a few errands and getting lunch. I have one and a half hours to go. This is my first transfusion with a port. Very nice. The worst part was the introduction of the needle into the port. But like almost everything, is passes.
I met a nice lady from the Ukraine in the waiting area. Her husband has been fighting prostate and colon cancer that has spread to some other places too. In Russia they gave him a month to live. He has been getting treatment for 3 years now and is looking pretty good. They became citizens recently and no longer receive completely free treatment, so they're trying to figure out how to pay for treatment. How strange is that? I wonder what strange law it is that uses our tax dollars to pay for the health care of non-citizens and not give much assistance to our own. Not that I would begrudge anyone from receiving treatment, but if we are going to cover the cost of some in need, shouldn't we do it for all in need? Especially our own citizens? Okay, I'm stepping off my soap box now.

Wait, I'm back on, How exciting is McCain's running mate?

by the way, thank you all of you for your prayers through everything so far. We were able to speak to a very good Dr. about my white blood count and got that figured out, here's praying we don't have to do that again. In joy and hope, Tree

Thursday, August 28, 2008

8-28-08

Hello, we are heading back down to UVA tomorrow, Friday morning to tr the chemo again. Hopefully all will go well. I am trying to see a different Dr. because my doctor and his nurse practitioner are on vacation, so we are really on a ship without a captain. It's not a big deal when everything is going smoothly, but I'm having some issues with the white blood counts, so we want to make sure that the decision being offered to us are sound and explained.

I have few specific prayer you could lift up for us. Please pray that we get some solid counsel and guidance from a doctor tomorrow. Also pray for our kidos they are really trying our patience lately, or maybe we just have less patience. No matter- we need prayers for our family to be filled with love and joy. thanks everyone! Here's hoping I come home all chemoed up! In joy and joy, tree

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I hope everyone is well. Today did not go just as planned. We went down to the hospital to get the port put in and have the 3rd infusion. The port went in great and then we went over to the infusion center to get the chemo, and Tree's white blood cell count was way to low. They could not administer the drugs. It was a let down when you get all pumped up to deal with the upcoming events. We don't know if Tree will have the session rescheduled for next week or just wait till the following week, we are waiting to hear from the Dr. Thank you all for all the prayers and all the help. Just a little more waiting. Keep those beads going. Dave

Saturday, August 23, 2008

8-23-08

Hi everyone, we have had such a great week! Enjoying life in so many ways. I just wanted to share some of the graces that have come through my illness. However, all of the kids just woke up from their naps so I'll try to catch you up another time. Don't forget prayers for my port surgery and next chemo treatment this Tuesday. Also pray for my friends Peggy, Bernie, Mary Lynn and Laura. They are all fighting their own diseases which are much more aggressive than mine. In joy and hope, Tree

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

oops

The draft I finally posted is a few post back. If you want to check it out it's under 8-7-08. T

8-19-08

As you can tell the last post sat in the draft box for a while. Dave told me just to send some stuff out not to worry about the composition or meaning. Thank you, Dave for the encouragement. Sometimes, us English majors place too much pressure on ourselves. Things are getting back to normal, except the arm pain is back. The Doctor and nurses aren't any help. I've realized it is related to my chemo as other Hodgkins patients in online forums have experienced it too. I could take some prescription pain killers for it, but I'd rather be awake to be with the kids. So I'll just grin and deal. I think the port I'll get next week will prevent this from happening again. Thank goodness! And thank all of you for everything, the phone calls, the emails, the masses offered, and the help given. Start praying now that my port surgery will go well. T

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I know I am only supposed to update everyone on the "goings ons" of the treatment, but this morning I just can't help but tell everyone how thankful I am that you are in our lives. We have been completely surrounded by prays, grace, love, and JOY. You are all a very big part of this. It is nice to be able to see you all in Warrenton, at church or around town. To those who do not live close you are still such an important part of this journey. A few days ago was the feast day of St. Clare, what a powerful woman. She completely turned her life over to God, and not just in a easy way, she went in with both feet, all or nothing. My kind of Lady. An order of sisters was started by St. Clare, the Poor Clares. These wonderful women spend there whole day in a state of prayer. Everyone that is far away or unable to visit with us, you are our Poor Clares. Thank you so much. For those who are with us at work, at home, or church we love you too, you are very much out Mother Teresa. In the trenches with us every day. Thanks for everything. Keep those beads going. Dave

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

2 of 12

Good Morning, Another long day. We are starting to see a running theme in the way chemotherapy goes. The day was relatively stress free. Tree went to church with Lily May in the morning, and I was able to ride bikes with the boys. What a gift. Tree and I got on the road at 10 AM and got to the waiting room by 11:30. At 1PM she was called back to start the infusion, then we sat in the infusion room for about an hour waiting for blood work and her meds to be filled. I have learned that there is a lot of waiting, but if this is all we have to do to have Tree around for a lot longer then I LOVE TO WAIT! Tree's first meds went in easy, the second not so good, so they changed arms and then they all went in well. Because the one arm did not work, the staff said she should get a port put in, this will make the infusion go a lot smoother. She finished up at about 6PM and it was back to Warrenton. If you have never driven down to UVA from Warrenton I highly recommend it, it is a beautiful drive. Even when you are going down for Chemo. Tree is home with the Kids and her Mom resting (Ha Ha resting with 4 kids.) Well 2 down 10 to go. Keep those beads going. Dave

Thursday, August 7, 2008

8-7-08

HI everyone. I'm so happy to be writing you again. I know it's been a while. We've been busy recovering from my first chemo treatment and just enjoying life. As Dave said the first treatment went well. We weren't sure what to expect. I had the heart test in the morning which was surprisingly very enjoyable. I got to lay around for a half an hour praising God and praying for all of the intentions you have passed onto me, while a big machine took pictures of my heart functioning from three different angles. Then we had lunch and headed to the Infusion Center.

The weekend before my first treatment we were down at my parents house. The kids kept themselves busy with all of the toys they hadn't seen for a while, Dave helped my Dad put in a fence and I spent a lot of time resting and napping. I tried not to think about the chemo and just enjoyed being with my family. I did a pretty good job. Sunday night was a different story. I began to worry a little bit thinking of the possible side effects and wondering how it would all play out. I don't think I slept very well.

I'm so glad I asked you all for specific prayers that weekend, for no fear, for an easy IV...I was so filled with peace and very relaxed even when they didn't have my orders ready for the nurse, even when the drips took longer than anticipated. Dave and I just really enjoyed meeting the people down there and being with each other. We played a few hands of rummy and got some reading done too. I even took a nap during the two hour chemo drip!

My first reactions this first go around were relatively mild. I was definitely tired the first three days maybe more from the anti-nausea drugs than the chemo. After that I had some soreness in my mouth that moved from the front to the middle and into my throat over the next three days, but by Sunday I was feeling like myself again. Not bad. With a lot of help from my mom and some friends making meals, cleaning the house and playing with the kids. I was able to rest and recoperate without much disruption to our family. I know even as symptoms from the chemo get worse, you've all got me covered.

The most unusual part of the last two weeks has been some pain I've been dealing with in my arm. Totally unrelated to any of my known health issues, Dave and I have given it up to tension in my shoulder pinching a nerve. This pain was the most bothersome of all. I couldn't make it go away with pain killers. I finally just accepted it as a friend and that disarmed the sting and it's been a little better the last few days.

However this arm pain has really taught me a lot about suffering. Mother Teresa told one of her sisters how was leaving to do some work with a saddened face, "Jesus told you to pick up your cross and follow him, not to lead the way." I just read that quote the other day. Dave gave me a book about her letters for my birthday last year. I never could have anticipated how the book would help me in this journey. I doubt Dave couldn't have either.

8-11-08
I had to go last time and didn't finish my thoughts; so I'm just starting over. Right now Dave and I are sitting in the infusion center down at UVA. My appointment was at 12 noon. Right now it's 2:20pm. I have my IV and have eaten the sandwich they've given me, but I have yet to start my chemo. We waited in the reception room for an hour, then had my IV put in and my blood drawn. My white blood cell count was low, so we're waiting to hear from the doctor whether he wants to give me a shot of the stuff that makes my bone marrow produce more white blood cells. After that we should be able to get the drips and pushes started.

While we wait, I can fill you in on the last two weeks. As I said earlier, I made it through the first treatment without too many side effects. By the following Sunday I was feeling like myself again. We had dinner guest and enjoyed forgetting about cancer for a while. John turned 6 on Tuesday, the 5th, Peter turned 3 on Friday the 8th. We went to Bush Gardens on Saturday to celebrate. We had great weather and lots of fun. We made it back by 7:30 pm and caught the 7:30 mass followed by pancake breakfast. So who can complain about that.

Since my diagnosis, I have found out that another good friend from church has cancer and will be undergoing surgery on the 18th, please keep Mary Lynn in your prayers. I am amazed at the power of your prayers and the great providence that God has over us. He cares so much for all of us.

I've already seen how God is using my cancer to draw others toward him, including me. Glory be!

I wanted to share with all of you a reflection I made during the healing mass a while ago. I was waiting to go to confession and caught sight of a stained glass window of Jesus' agony in the garden. I've always loved that mystery, that humanity of Jesus. I remembered that Jesus asked for the cup to pass by him, and then for God's will to be done. In the same way I am asking God to heal me completely, and for his will to be done. I feel you Jesus!