Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Great, fantastic, amazingly beautiful news!

I"m cancer-free! at least as seen with the naked eye. My scans came out great yesterday. Everything looked normal. The only down side is that I still have to complete all 12 chemo treatments. The Docs have learned that with Hodgkins, the little naughty cancer cells like to hide out in random places. So we continue with the chemo to make sure nothing comes back. Fine with me. I only want to do this once, so as the Supremes say, "Sock it to me, sock it to me...."

Thank you for all of your prayers. They have helped us so much and God has answered them in a most delightful way. Please keep them coming until we get the all clear in late February. We will keep you updated with my treatments and thoughts. The last chemo should be in early January, hopefully before my birthday, wouldn't it be nice...

Yesterday, as we sat in the waiting room from the scan a 12 year old girl waited with her parents for her tests. She had to bring some sort of "juice," about which she was not too excited. She was a lovely girl, but unable to speak. She could only hum or groan or scream. There were probably some other disabilities going on too. Regardless, she knew she didn't want to finish that juice or cooperate with the tests. I was truly struck by her shear will.
When I taught 6th grade religion, we always covered the creation story. I really enjoyed telling the kids that God created everything good, that people were the highlight of all of his creation because we were made in God's image. I loved sharing with them that God breathed in us the breath of life giving us, unlike the other creatures a soul and our own will. Yesterday the lesson came alive. The power of the human will. This little girl probably couldn't solve a complex math problem or read a novel on her own. But let me tell you she could express her will!
How strong is our human will? VERY! It was given to us by the creator of the universe. Why not use it more? How often have I let procrastination or laziness keep me from doing what needs to be done? Whether its finally getting to that bike ride I promised Lily two weeks ago or the switching out the boys summer and winter clothes. Next time, I plan on following in that little girl's footsteps and exercising my powerful God-given will.

We love you all. Thank you for everything you have helped us with. Please coninue to pray for our friends, Laura, and Mary Lynn who have advanced cancer.

We loved the CD, Reagan-it kept us hoping through all the waiting yesterday. It think I'll share the joy and play the Rocky theme for the gang in infusion next time.

in joy and hope, Tree

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

9-23-08

HI everyone, I have a few rare minutes before John gets home from school while all the kids are napping to write to you. The crumbs on the kitchen floor can stay on there a little longer. So how am I feeling? Not bad. I've just been a lot achier during this "good" week. I'm not sure if its the residual effects of the nupregen shots or not. I know they can cause joint pain that lasts about two weeks. I started taking some nuprin and that's helping a little. But mostly just ignoring it and busying myself helps the most!
So over the weekend we met some friends who were doing some overnight camping with their kids. We joined them for dinner and a campfire complete with s'mores and ghost stories. Then headed home down the mountains to sleep in our own beds.
Then on Sunday the little school-aged boys in our neighborhood (that's K-2nd) helped one of our neighbors put in a new flower bed. It was delightful to see the boys load up the bags of mulch from Dave's truck put it on their skate boards and scooters and push them up the sidewalk and across the street. Then they dug out the existing grass, dug holes for the flowers and spread the mulch. A few of the grown ups helped with the bigger stuff, but those young boys worked hard. I was really proud of John, Lily, Peter and their friends.
Getting out of the house and doing stuff is great and distracting, but I still need to take rest during the day and by afternoon, I'm pretty spent. I'm perfecting my simple dinners and crock pot recipes. When I'm really bad off, great friends and sometimes strangers from around town have been bringing us meals. Thanks you ALL!
My next treatment is Monday the 29th of Sept. I'll spending a long day at UVA beginning with my CTPET SCan to see if the cancer is responding to the chemo. We expect good stuff! Then I get little break, a visit with the Dr. and then my chemo.
I've been enjoying all the wonderful notes and gifts family and friends have been sending. I can feel your prayers lifting me up every day. The lobster hat was a big hit with the entire family!
My spirits are good. A friend recently dropped off a book for me about a surgeon who began an exceptional cancer patient group. It is a really inspiring book teaching me all about being an active, aggressive and hopeful cancer patient. So here's to life! I plan on being in it for a long time to come! In joy and hope of God, Tree

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday went well. We left the house at about 8 am and we were back at about 1:30 pm. I know that being that close to home was not only easy on Tree and Me, but also on the whole family. The infusion center at Fauquier is not as busy and much more open than down at UVA. Thank you again for all the help and prays, they all make everything a lot easier for all of us. On other news John had one of his first good days at school on Tuesday, there was no crying. We are all so happy for him and hope that this will keep going. Lily started her second year of pre school on Tuesday and did very well, she will be going to day no. 2 today, and will be taking Pete along for the drop off and pick up so he can get ready for His first Day on Thursday. The littlest one, Sam, is really moving about now, last night he and John were chasing each other around the house. I hope all is well with you and your family. Keep those beads going strong, we all still need them. Dave

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Well #4 did not happen on Friday. Tree's WBC was to low. (.15) the doctors would like it up at .5. So we went home with no treatment. She got a shot to boost her WBC and will get another one today at 2pm. In hopes that on Tuesday she will be able to get an infusion. She is going to get it at Fauquier Hospital, so that will make it a much easier trip. (5 min.) Thanks for all the prayers and help, it all works wonders for Tree and the family. Keep those beads going. Dave

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

9-10-08

Hi all, sorry there wasn't any blogging for a while. I guess what happens is I get a treatment, fell like junk for a while-too pooped to write, and then I feel better and want to pretend that I don't have cancer. Works for me! Although I will try to keep everyone updated so not to make you think I've become incapacitated.

I've had a much better experience after this treatment. No arm pain!!! Whoopee! The hair so far is just thinning. I still have to shave my legs, so I may never really lose enough hair to notice. We'll see. I am only 3 treatments in. I have numero cuatro this Friday, Sept. 12. It'll be another all day affair. I meet with the nurse, hopefully the nutritionist and get my chemo. We're bringing the kids with us, which should be interesting. We just want them to see where we go all the time. Then my mom is taking them home with her for the weekend. Lily will be spending a night with the Morgan cousins, two girls! We're swapping cars and Dave and I will return to an empty house, aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh.

We watched the Stand up to Cancer show last Friday. I can't say it was very inspirational for cancer patients, but I guess that wasn't their point. They were trying to wake everyone up to the threat that cancer is to their families, friends and themselves. It scared me a little too. I went to bed fighting back tears facing the fact I so often try to forget that this disease can kill me. I really don't think it will, but yes it can. I wonder what the percentage is for people who have hodgkins who actually die compared to the percentage of people who drive daily who die from a car wreck? If anyone finds out only tell me if it swings in my favor. I like living in my little illusions. I went to look online, to see if the organization was worthy of donations and couldn't find any info on whether they promote embryonic stem cell research, so I refrained from donating at this time. If want a good place to contribute to research, I would suggest St. Jude's Children's hospital.

The rest of life is really just getting back to normal. The kids still have their good and bad days and so do I. I've still been saying my daily rosary, but not always making time to read scripture. This needs to change. I was really empowered and protected from fear and my own weaknesses through the proclaimation of certain scripture verses. I would read them aloud everyday. I noticed their power, when I had been lazy about teh practice and went in for my port surgery and was waiting on THE table and started panicking about all the things that can go wrong during the surgery so close to a major artery. Thank goodness I had memorized a few verses and I could recall them and calm myself and rest in our good God!

Speaking of my port. It's still sore some of the time. I guess that's normal, but it's really annoying. Not quite as annoying as the shooting arm pain, so I probably shouldn't complain. I'll ask the nurse about it on Friday. I guess having a foreign body just under your skin is going to be a little annoying. I'm just a little nervous about the kids knocking it out of place. Like when I'm holding Sam and he throws his head back in an fit of temper and whacks me in the chest. So far, I've anticipated and held him away from me and out of range. It's also kind of funny, because it really hurts if i get hugged really hard. We crashed an after wedding party last Saturday night and I received three really strong bear hugs from some big guys. Dave and I got in the truck and I told Dave, AAUGH! He said I wondered why you let them hug you? I said, what could I do it was the guys wedding day! Love ya Chris! the pain only lasted ten minutes or so and then I was good to go!

Dave is still hanging in there joined a Sunday night soccer pick up game. Taking care of all of us, and keeping a smile on his face.

Big thanks to everyone who continues to flood heaven with your prayers for me and my family, those who have been making us meals and cleaning our house. We love you all and are so blessed to be members of this beautiful body of Christ. In joy and Hope, Tree