Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Bit of Anxiety

Last night I had a dream that my next chemo treatment (which is this coming Tuesday) had to be delayed.  I was very upset because a delay means it's just going to take longer for it all to be over with.  I'm so glad it was only a dream.  I guess it's normal for people in my situation to have anxiety about their health but it's so foreign to me. The other day I had a little bit of bloody show. It was very light pink but it scared me. It made me start to think about preterm labor. I've also been concerned that maybe the chemo drugs aren't working as well as they should be. My hair is still growing and I don't seem to be experiencing the side effects as strongly as most people do. Maybe I should just be happy that I'm feeling relatively well and not worry about things I have no control over.  But wouldn't I be crazy not to be worried at least a little bit? I don't worry about mortality. Those thoughts don't even come into my mind anymore. Right now I worry about the fact that I should have demanded that my other breast be removed because what happens when I have one implant and one real breast and I lose or gain weight? Am I going to be lopsided every time my weight fluctuates? A silly thing to think about... but I do.

I have an appointment with the perinatologist tomorrow. He's just going to check how baby boy is growing. I'm not a fan of this doctor at all. I went to him during my second pregnancy and he said I needed to be induced 3 weeks early because he thought Tobias (my second child) had issues with his kidneys. Come to find out after Tobias was born that his kidneys were perfectly fine. And then the pediatrician told me that even if he did have the kidney issue that it is very common in males and it usually resolves itself after birth. So induction was unnecessary. I'm not a fan of any kind of intervention during child birth and I'm actually still angry about it. So I'm not very excited about seeing this specific doctor tomorrow but he's the only perinatologist covered by my insurance.

Overall I'm feeling pretty good. I get tired extremely easily but I constantly think about how much more tired I would be if I didn't have my mom. She does so much. I have very few responsibilities because she has taken most of them on herself. And she does a better job of most things than I did before I even had cancer.

I went to Babies R Us with my sister Cyndi today. She said it was time to register since she's throwing a baby shower for me in a little over two weeks. Cyndi and my mom came up with the list of people to invite because I couldn't decide. I have this weird awkward feeling about inviting people. I just moved back to Ventura after 6 years of investing myself in friendships in Northern California. I have friends here in Ventura but do I invite people who I have only talked to a couple times in several years? I feel weird about having a baby shower for my 4th baby but I would also love nothing more than to celebrate this baby with the people that I love. So many people have already done so much for me that I don't want anyone to feel like they have to go to a baby shower on top of going to my fundraiser and bringing me meals and everything else. It would be so much easier for me if we could do it in a non-traditional way and say please come with or without a gift because I want to celebrate this miraculous event in my life with the people I love who have already blessed me in so many ways. If that was the case, I would invite every single person who reads my blog or has sent me a note or shown any act of kindness.  All of those things have impacted me greatly and I feel like everyone has been walking through this with me and supporting me every step of the way.

I had my mom take this picture the other day.  I thought I was pretty funny at the time.  I'm still coming across people who don't realize I'm pregnant.  I assume by the looks I get that they think I have a huge tumor in my stomach.  Today when my sister and I were at Babies R Us, I saw one of those belly mold kits.  I told my sister that I wanted to do one of my own belly with my one breast.  She didn't think it was very funny but I got a good laugh out of it.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Diaper Bags and Running Shoes

Yesterday felt like it was the busiest day of my life.  By 9:45 am, I'd already been to a soccer game, Starbucks and was standing in line for the Petunia Pickle Bottom Fall Preview Sale at their downtown Ventura warehouse.  I ended up getting three diaper bags, a wallet, and two blankets.  I didn't even really need a new diaper bag because the one baby item I still have from my last baby is my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag.  Oh well.  After my unnecessary purchases, my mom, my sister Cyndi and I walked down to Spencer McKenzie's to get a fish and shrimp burrito.  I then headed home, picked up the kids and went to my nephew's football game.  After the football game ended, the entire family went to the open house for my sister's new business.  Finally at close to 6 pm, we went home, dropped the kids off with my parents and John and I went out to dinner.  The waitress asked what I would like to drink and I was about to ask for water when I decided I had better have iced tea if I planned to be able to stay awake through dinner.

I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been hit by a train.  My back is hurting like it did before I started doing yoga.  Seeing as I haven't done yoga for four months now and all my core muscles have turned to jelly, it makes a lot of sense.  By the way, Friday I joined the gym.  I've been missing the gym these past four months since I was diagnosed.  Today is the four month anniversary of my diagnosis...not something I am celebrating.  For four months I have known but it seems like it's already been a year.

Today I bought myself a new pair of running shoes...not that I think I'll actually be using them for running right now.  I'd probably put myself into preterm labor if I even tried. I have a plan and that plan is breaking my new running shoes in over the next few months by walking on the treadmill or doing the elliptical.  When this baby is born those running shoes will be ready for me to make them wish I was still pregnant.  I'm tired of being a cancer patient so I've decided to try to find at least a little bit of normalcy.  My body needs exercise.  My mind needs that release of endorphins.  Some days it might use up most of the energy that I have but I'm counting on it giving me more energy.  We'll see.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Little Slip of the Clippers

Sometimes I don't blog because I have extremely high standards for myself and I think that if I don't have something important or funny to blog about then I shouldn't waste people's time. But then I realized that nobody else in the world holds me to those same high standards I hold myself to. So I've decided to update everyone on the most irritating thing I've been dealing with lately... My hair.  My hair is growing at such a rapid rate that I have to shave it every couple of days.  Yes, hair growth can be wonderful.  For me it gives me hope that my eyebrows and eyelashes won't fall out.  But it is also a pain in the butt to have to pay so much attention to the patches of hair that continue to grow at so quickly.  Yes, only patches because mostly my head is large bald patches.  I have a whole new respect for men who do this on a regular basis.  It's not something that's easy to do on your own and it's very time consuming. Maybe not very time consuming compared to women who use a flat iron, round brush and blow dryer on a daily basis...but this is coming from me.  I haven't used a curling iron or styled my hair at all since crimping irons were all the rave in the 80's.  I'm the brush and go kind of girl.  I've stopped asking my husband to shave my head for me because saying those words, "Honey, can you shave my head?" just makes me feel lame.  I also have a huge fear of the clippers.  They've been causing me a bit of anxiety ever since about two weeks ago when I was working on the hair at my temple and the clippers slipped and caught the end of my eyebrow.  I thought I was going to cry...not my eyebrows!  I have been cherishing their presence!  Fortunately it wasn't too bad and I was able to clean it up and make the other one match it.  You'd never notice unless I pointed it out.  It could have been a very bad situation but it turned out okay.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Luke Skywalker

This is my fourth attempt at blogging in the past several days.  It's so hard for me to come up with the words right now to describe what I'm going through.  Most of the time I feel like I'm doing just fine but then I have an emotional break down and I wonder if I'm just in denial.  I have trouble getting excited about things or even thinking about the future.  I have cancer and I'm afraid.  I still have no idea what stage the cancer is.  I don't know if it's anywhere in my body other than in my breast... well not in my breast anymore because my breast is gone.  Sometimes I'm filled with fear.  I try not to let it affect the way I live or the way I think but that fear still just creeps up on me.  Right now my baby is healthy from everything we can tell but I'm still afraid.  My faith is strong and I know that the fear is not from the Lord.  I trust Him with my life and the life of my baby but I'm still afraid.  Is that a contradiction... trust and fear in the same sentence?

My sister is going to have a baby shower for me.  I keep telling her that I feel uncomfortable having a baby shower for my 4th child.  She says she doesn't care and that this baby needs to be celebrated...especially since it's been almost six years since I had my last baby and I no longer have any baby stuff.  I'm wondering if deep down I'm afraid to celebrate this baby yet or is this just how it is with the 4th pregnancy?  I don't think it can be that it's my 4th pregnancy because as soon as I found out I was pregnant I was in awe of the miracle of his little life forming inside of me.  I love being pregnant.  I love feeling that my body is doing something so special.  I love feeling him move.  I even love child birth.  It is the most amazing thing to me.  I've always compared child birth to running a marathon.  It's exhausting and painful but as soon as you cross the finish line, the rush of endorphins makes the pain so worth it... not to mention that you have this amazing little bundle of joy.

Anyhow, my little bundle of joy doesn't have a name yet.  I'm worried that I still won't have picked anything by the time he's born and we'll end up having to go with the name the kids want for him... Luke Skywalker Raymond.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Cancer is Boring

I haven't been blogging much lately because I'm kinda just sick of dwelling on it.  Now that I'm past mourning the loss of my hair, I find that I don't have much to complain about....and what fun is blogging if it's not all dramatic and poor me.  That's only part of it though.  I've been pretty busy lately with the normal day to day stuff that moms do and there's a very fine line for me when it comes to over doing it.  Other than a lack of energy I don't have anything to complain about...well...I take that back.  I really want to complain about my weight gain but what can I say about that?  I don't have control over much in my life right now but I do have control over my eating habits and I'm falling down on the job.  I don't believe in excuses and right now I have a whole lot of them.  The fact is... I eat crap and I don't exercise anymore.  Maybe the fact that I just called myself out on my weakness will give me incentive to actually do something about it.

John and I took the kids to their first day of school today and then we headed off to my 4th round of chemo.  Same old thing.  After every treatment I feel exhausted and ravenous (stupid steroids aren't helping my food issues...I really want a doughnut right now).  We made it home from treatment just in time to pick Daphne up from her first day of kindergarten.  She refused to tell me anything about her first day of school, which is very normal for my strong willed, auburn haired little girl.

I am officially in my third trimester.  I have an OB appointment tomorrow.  She'll order my glucose test to check for gestational diabetes.  I'm a little concerned about that because on my last blood work it shows really low glucose...and it's really weird to have low glucose when you've just polished off a milk shake.

I continue to receive blessings from amazing people; from "thinking of you" cards in the mail to delicious dinners to friends spending their time and money to come and visit us.  I feel blessed and loved even on the days when I feel like crap.  Below are pictures of my kids this morning on their way to their first day of school.  How can I not feel blessed with those three precious faces to look at every day?
Daphne (kindergarten), Tobias (2nd grade), Ephraim (3rd grade)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


The past week has flown by so quickly.  I slept so much of the week away that I don't remember most of it.  I was so exhausted that returning phone calls or responding to text messages or even using my brain at all required too much energy.  I was asked the other day what the usual symptoms are right after treatment and I couldn't answer.  Everything is starting to blur together.  I think there was one day where the nausea was really bad and obviously fatigue was the side effect I experienced the most last week.  It was starting to worry me a little bit because napping during the day and then sleeping for 12 hours at night is not normal for me.  But then again, none of this is normal.

Yesterday I woke up at 6 am feeling an extraordinary kind of wonderful.  I felt energy and joy the moment I opened my eyes.  I love waking up early when the house is quiet and I can have that time just to myself.  When the kids woke up, I fed them breakfast and got the boys ready for soccer camp.  We left half an hour early so I stopped to get coffee on the way to soccer camp.  While waiting for me latte, I ran into my sister's friend who is running a volleyball camp this week.  She told me to bring Daphne for the rest of the week free of charge.  I was super excited about this because Daphne has talked about playing volleyball since she was 2 years old.  She thinks it's a girl sport.  She says she doesn't want to play basketball or soccer because those are boy sports.  So, I dropped the boys off at soccer camp and then took Daphne to volleyball camp.  As I was driving away after dropping Daphne off, I totally started to get teary eyed.  It felt like a normal healthy morning and I was so grateful for one morning of being a normal mom.  I started to think about how extreme the turn around was from the day before.  What a gift it is to wake up filled with joy.  God has truly blessed me.

Today I am feeling pretty good again.  Not as great as yesterday but still good.  I think I over did it a little bit yesterday.  After taking the kids to camp I made a trip to Target to get school supplies.  I spent two hours trying to figure out what to get.  I had three lists: kindergarten, second grade and third grade.  They are so specific with those stinkin' lists!  10 pack of washable crayola broad line markers.  Target carries an 8 pack of washable crayola broad line markers or a 10 pack of (unwashable) crayola broad line markers.  The lists were filled with items that left me completely confused.  It's funny how the little things can feel so overwhelming.