Monday, August 31, 2009

Sleepy Weekend

I spent another weekend sleeping. I don't know what it is about the weekends but I always seem to be more nauseous and sleepy than at other times. I feel as if I have literaly slept the last 48 hours away!!!
This is somewhat an exciting time for me, as weird as that may sound. It's like I can almost see the finish line in the radiation treatments!!!!! Just 8 more to go!!!! They have told me that the last five treatments will be what they refer to as a "Boost". They will concentrate all the radiation towards the initial cancer site, leaving out the neck and lymph nodes. I'm really not sure what side effect this will have on me. My skin on my neck, shoulder and face on the left side is breaking down. It is very red and fragile. It bleeds easily but doesn't hurt much, maybe due to the numbness I have experienced since the last surgery. I have constant nose bleeding and my mouth stays dryer than the mohave desert!!! Did you know they have such a thing as artificial saliva? It comes in two little vials I mix together and swish in my mouth for two minutes. At first it worked really well, now it lasts about ten or fifteen minutes. I have a whole regime of things to do. I rinse first with a mixture of salt and soda water, I then gargle a miracle mouthwash that numbs my mouth, (which makes it possible to take my meds and to eat), I then take my pain and naseous meds, then I swish the artificial saliva. I do this 7 or 8 times a day. I also have wonderful, but greasy, cream to put on my neck and chest for the burns.
I am still able to eat liquidy foods and ice cream although nothing tastes good. I have lost two more pounds making a total loss so far of around 33 pounds. I have told Wendell, when and if I am able to eat and taste normally again, I will weigh 600 pounds!!!!
My hair is still falling out, and is getting pretty sparse. Maybe I will get a good enough picture to post one here of my hair loss, I just haven't been able to pull off a good "Kodak Moment" yet!!!
Well, enough for now, it's nap time!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

10 To Go!!!

Four and a half weeks down and only 10 more days of the radiation treatments. God has been so good to me and I KNOW it is in great part due to the prayers you have prayed for me!!!! Thank you seems really lame at this point, but it's all I have to give right now. So I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart!!! I have not had to have the dreaded feeding tube, I have only lost 10 pounds since the start of the radiation treatments, which is amazing. I am still able to eat liquidity foods and drink enough water. The expected burn on my face and shoulder is not near as bad as expected, It's really red and dry but not painful at all. I have only spent one day throwing up, I feel nauseous all the time but have great meds for this. The diareah is still present and sometimes unexpected :) hee hee, but has not dehydrated me anymore. I have constant heart burn, but it is managable. God Is so faithful.
Pam came Monday night and burred my hair. It is amazing how much hair I can lose, especially in the shower and more through out the day and still have some left on my head:) I have more bald spots and it is getting pretty thin in most spots. But I have some cute scarves and tubans to wear. I haven't wore the wig yet, the hats are just easier. Wendell had Pam burr his hair to, in support of me. Although I tried to talk him out of it, I believe it has always been his wish to shave his head and I have always talked him out of it, but now what can I say?
I had my third chemo treatment today. We were only there for four hours. After accessing my port and and checking my blood levels, (they were good), they start the pre meds that go directly into my veins through the port. The pre meds are a combination of three different meds, one of which is Benedryl. The Benedryl gives me quite a kick!!! Wendell was in the waiting room right before they started my pre meds. I called him to ask if he would go to Wal-Mart and get me some Jello, I was getting really sick and needed something on my stomache. He made a quick trip, but by the time he got back, the Benedryl was kicking my bootie. I couldn't keep my eyes open, I was so woosie. (good word huh!). He opened one of the Jellos and placed it with a spoon in my hand in my lap. He went back to the waiting room, (when the chemo chairs are full with patients the family members have to wait in the waiting room). The next time I opened my eyes my fingers were swimming in the then melted Jello. After checking to see if any one was observing my stupidity, I removed and quickly licked my now red stained fingers!!! :()
The chemo day went pretty fast. I slept all the way home and most of the evening. I have had some stomache discomfort since waking up, but so far nothing unbearable.
God's Grace Is Sufficient!!!

Friday, August 21, 2009

FOUR WEEKS DOWN!!!!

FOUR WEEKS Down!!!! Today's radiation treatment reached the four week mile stone!!!! Only two and 1/2 weeks to go!!! The Lord has been so good to me!!! The side effects have not been as bad as I had feared. Please continue to pray for me though, they say the last two weeks are the worse. God's grace, I know, will continue to be sufficient.
The side effects I am having right now are dry mouth and skin, hair loss, minor blisters in my mouth and on my tongue, and I can only eat soft liquidy foods which all taste like metal. Today has been the day that I have missed eating food and it tasting normal, more than any other time. I was beginning to get a little down this evening thinking about how I would love to be able to eat something, anything, and it actually taste good. Even drinking has become something I would just as soon not do, because of the taste. Wendell came back from his Mom's with a bowl of chicken and dumplings she had made for me. I began to eat them and could actually taste some of the chicken flavor!!!! It was the best thing I have eaten in weeks!!! I know it is silly but I am almost in tears thinking about what a blessing that was!!! It never ceases to amaze me, how the Lord knows exactly what we need and when we need it most!!! My Mother in Law has worried over my not being able to eat much and has tried her best to help in any way she can. What a Blessing!!!

I hesitate to post anything specific about any cards or comments I have recieved, for fear of leaving someone out. I have recieved hundreds of cards, letters and emails from individuals, couples, Church groups, etc... these also seem to arrive at times I need them the most. I recieved some yeterday from some children from Pine Orchard Vacation Bible School that came exactly at the time I needed them. They were such a blessing. Thank you kids for the cards and most of all your prayers!!!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

I'm Blaming This Post On The Patch

I don't know what it is with the weekends, but I seem to spend my Saturdays trying to sleep off nausea!!! Sunday was a lot better, I felt better than I had in awhile. Nausea is pretty much the story of my life right now!!! My mouth sores are improving, I am able swallow soft foods pretty good right now. I guess that is a result of having this past week off chemo. My taste buds are a distant memory!!! Well, that's not entirely true, everything I put in my mouth has a taste...the same taste...ice cream taste the same as potato's...It's hard to describe...its kind of a metal taste...a taste not normally associated with the food chain!!!! I eat now only to keep my strength and to avoid the feeding tube. Speaking of eating... Look at the watermelon Wendell grew in his garden!!!! It weighed 56 pounds!!!!





He had his dad and Bro. & Sis. Jones over to eat it last Friday!!! I had a bite... they told me it had a really good flavor but I thought it tasted like potatos!!!! (get it?)

Here are a couple pictures of me with my new hair do, complete with turbans and scarves.

After waking from a nap this evening, I felt a little draft on my neck. Upon checking in the mirror I have discovered my first complete bald spot. I hope to keep my bangs as long as possible, but I'm prepared if I lose them. Do you know they sell fake bangs and even fake eyebrows!!!
The Doctor started me on a pain patch last week that does seem to help me feel more like acomplishing some things during the day. The bad thing is I don't feel quite the same. So if I have rattled in this post I'm blaming it on the patch!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

No Chemo Today.

Wendell and I both had problems sleeping last night, insomnia had set in!!! He left for work at 4:00 am and so I just got up and tried to catch up on laundry and book work. I suddenly became ill, and had some vomiting. It came on suddenly and was a little shocking, I have been nauseous but have not actually threw up. Once it was over I felt some better and was able to lay back down and fall asleep around 7 am for a couple hours.
True to my thinking, my work day was cut in half!!! Pam came and cut my hair extremely short last night. It's about 1/2 inch long. I had her leave my bangs, in the hopes of hanging on to them as long as possible, (I don't look quite as bald with bangs coming out from under my hats!!!) My hair is thick and is falling out all over, not just in spots, so my head is actually still pretty much covered with hair right now. I wore a black turban to treatment today, I actually thought it looked ok. It was kind of nice, not to have to worry about my hair, when I wasn't feeling well. I was actually asked by another patient where I got my hat!!! Imagine me, Bald and stylin!!!! I'll just let you imagine for awhile before I post pictures of the reality!!!!
I got sick on the way to treatment today and had to have Wendell pull over:( They did my radiation but when I went for the Chemo they had the Doctor come look at the blisters in my mouth, and decided not to do the chemo today. They explained that the chemo intensifies the radiation, the sores, if my blood count goes low because of the chemo, can turn into a hard to fight infection. So it is best to take this week off from chemo. I am off next week anyway because it will be week four. We will resume the chemo the next week. I will not make up the times I miss.
All I was able to eat yesterday was some bean juice, from my Mother In Law, late last night. Today I lost the soup broth I had ate for breakfast, on the way to treatments! After treatment Wendell took me to McCalister's Deli to check out their soup menu, I purchased Cheesy Potato Soup there. I'm not a normally big cheese fan (even though the taste buds are pretty much gone), so he also took me to Panera Bread where I purchased Baked Potato Soup. After coming home and doing some mouth wash regimes, I was actually able to eat one of the soups for dinner and one for a late night snack!!! It feels good to have something in the stomach. Never thought I would have that problem!!!! If you know of any places to buy good creamy soups I'm all ears!!!
Looks like me and potato's are becoming "best spud's" again, hee hee!!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My Work Day Will Be Cut In Half!!!

I spent the day running my fingers through my hair yesterday, and coming up empty handed!!! I thought maybe the mornings hair loss was just a fluke:) But then I took another shower this morning and lost a lot more. So Pam is coming this evening. It's a strange feeling to comb your hair and end up with it in your hands detached from your head!!! I am prepared with wigs and scarves and have decided at this point hair loss doesn't even make the list of things to fret over!!!! After completeing my morning shower each day, I feel as if I have acomplished the equivalent of 8 hours of work!!!! So, on the bright side, my work day will be cut in half!!!!!

We have an appointment today with the surgeon to discuss a feeding tube. I am REALLY dreading this appointment, they are "working me in", which in medical terms means "be prepared to wait for hours"!!! I also have radiation today and will meet with the radiation doctor to discuss the side effects I'm having. They told me yesterday that even though the pain meds make me sleep I need to keep taking them, it is very important to make it through the treatments without taking a break. Even if I end up sleeping the next four weeks away. So I am trying to do all they say. I don't want to have to stop before completeing all my treatments, that would make all I've done already, be for nothing!!!! I had to take the meds as soon as I got up this morning so if I am blogging a little more scattered than usual that is why:)

Monday, August 10, 2009

I Had A Great Birthday!!!!

I haven't blogged in a few days sooo....
I had my second Chemo treatment last Wednesday. The way they have me scheduled for treatment is:

Week one - Cisplatin and Taxol (They will change the Cisplatin to Carboplatin next time, because I had such a bad reaction to the Cisplatin that they gave me on my first treatment.)
Week Two - Which was last week. Taxol
Week Three - Taxol
Week Four - No Chemo!!!

Then I start over again with week one, I will do this for three months. The Taxol they gave me last week left me feeling pretty tired but I was not nearly as nauseas as I was with the combination Taxol and Cisplatin they had given me the first week. I started to get diareah but took an imodium first thing Thursday morning and it stopped it fairly quickly.

Friday was my two week marker for the radiation treatments and true to their word the side effects began over the weekend. But first I was able to celebrate my Birthday Friday!! Thank you to all those who sent me cards, birthday and get well, they really brightened my day. My sisters took me to dinner the week before because they were afraid I would be too sick on my actual Birthday. We went to Cracker Barrel and had a great time.


Then, Friday for my birthday, Jeff and Karen took us out to dinner via their pontoon boat!!! We went to one of the Marinas, Papa Joe's. We had a great time. I have told Jeff I only have a little time left to hang onto my hair so don't blow it, and he is so kind to drive slowly so Karen and I arrive for dinner with every hair in place!!!! Our Men!!! Their just great and always so accomadating!!!
We are lucky women!!!



Punky, Kiah and Aaron gave me two new pair of PJ'S!!! One of my favorite gifts to recieve!!!! Jess gave me a beautiful pair of "Open Heart" ear rings to match the neckalce she gave me for Christmas!!! Teresa gave me a beautiful necklace and bracelet!!! Kim bought my dinner!!! Karen gave me gift cards to one of our favorite restraunts!!! Josh, Misty and Renea sent me beautiful yellow roses!!! Jacob gave me a Palm tree which continues to brighten my days as I look at it and think of the beach!!!! I recieved hilarious cards and e-mails and sweet sentimental ones too!!!! All in all I had one of the best birthdays I have ever had!!! Thank you all for making it so special!!!!
Over the weekend I developed blisters in my mouth from the radiation. It has made it hard to talk and eat. I spent all day Saturday and Sunday sleeping, as a result of the pain meds for the blisters. Today a friend sent me some Magic Mouthwash to use. It numbs my mouth for about fifteen minutes, long enough to try and eat. At radiation today, the doctor wasn't in but the nurse told me to rinse with salt and soda water and also gave me stuff to create artificial saliva. The radiation has caused my saliva to be very thick and stringy. It has been very frustrating to deal with. It almost makes me feel as if I'm chocking, but the artificial stuff has helped. I will see the radiation Doctor tomorrow. I also saw the nutritionist today. She has set up an appointment with a surgeon she wants me to see tomorrow. She wants me to go ahead and have a consultation appointment with the surgeon so if, and when, I need the feeding tube, all we will have to do is schedule the surgery. She is pushing for me to go ahead and get it. I had lost another 2 1/2 pounds since last week. I really, really don't want any more surgeries! When we got back home today Wendell made me some of his potatoe onion soup which I was able to eat. I am, at this point, only able to eat soft "liquidy" foods. I still have 4 1/2 weeks of radiation to go, I don't know if I will be able to avoid the feeding tube, but I can hope!!!
The chemo doctor told me this past week that the Taxol he was giving me will make my hair fall out. I told him I had decided that I was going to keep my hair to which he said, "If you do I will have to charge you extra!!!" Well, being the tight wad I am....I clogged up the shower this morning:( Wendell's sister Pam is coming tomorrow evening to cut my hair short.
To those who are so faithful to pray for me, I just want to say THANK YOU!!!! The Lord has truely been good to me. I am soooo blessed with some of the greatest friends and family in the world!!!! When I think of what I could have ever done to deserve all I have, I fall so very short. Thank you for standing by me and lifting me up in your prayers!!!! Our God is Faithful!!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

2nd Chemo and Day 8 of Radiation

Well the second chemo has made Debbie nauseous and tired. What time she was awake in route home she was not feeling well. Once home, she was pretty sick again. The last chemo made her sick the first day but it was the second day when she got real sick. Please help us pray for good days ahead.

She has been drinking more liquids than she was able to last time. We do not want the same dehydration. Thanks for praying.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Still Nauseous

I am still quite nauseous, and battling diareah. I have lost nine pounds in seven days. It's amazing how your life can change in an instant. In a healthier state, a year ago, I would have been thrilled to lose nine pounds!!!! Now nine pounds means I am closer to another surgery, to have a feeding tube. I am trying desperately to avoid it. When I am not nauseous, I try to eat and drink everything I can find!!!
I went for my sixth radiation treatment yesterday. The technicians remarked that I looked a lot better than I had Friday. I told them, if I had fixed my hair and had on shoes they would know I felt pretty good. I had been so ill last week that I had went for the treatments without fixing my hair and wearing my leopard house shoes!!! Again, this would have been unfathomable a year ago, in a healthier state!!! As far as side effects from the radiation.... I have the thrush (Which I am taking antibiotics for), and my jaw feels like it is a pocket on my face stuffed full of something, but it is not painful. I can still swallow just fine...no sore throat...
Wendell, Punky and Kiah will be home this evening!!! I miss them:(
They have been on a Church trip. They went to King's Island Amusement Park in Ohio yesterday and then to the Fellowship Tract League today to help in the process of mailing Bible tracts. It took a lot of persuading on my part to get Wendell to go, He didn't want to leave me. Stephanie has come to stay with me and take me to my treatments while Jess works.
I am scheduled to receive more chemo tomorrow. I have to admit I'm a little apprehensive about it!!! Please continue to pray the Lord's will be done in my life. I know His grace will be sufficient.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Home Tonight

Well what can I say....The chemo experience was a real bummer!!!! I have spent three of the four nights, since getting the chemo, in the hospital. We are home tonight. I am dealing with some nausea and diareah, but have medicine to help ease it. I now also have thrush in my mouth, which makes it a little harder to talk, eat and drink. The thrush is a result of the Radiation not the chemo. Hey but on the bright side of things..... I still have my HAIR!!!!!
Thanks for praying for us!!!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Friday and Saturday

Sorry I did not get to post, but we just learned today we can use the computer in our hospital room. Yes, we are in the hospital at Baptist West in Knoxville. When we went to our scheduled Dr. visit yesterday he immediately admitted her into the hospital due to dehydration. She has felt some better today but as they tried to get her off the IV she began feeling nauseous and weak again so they have started it back up.

They seem to think all of this sickness is a direct result of the heavy dosage of chemo, so next week he is going to try a different kind which is not as harsh. Please pray for us and the Dr.s as they need wisdom in administering these treatments.

Depending on her fluid and food intake as well as her overall feeling good will determine when we will be released. For those of you who can go tomorrow, HAVE A GREAT DAY IN THE HOUSE OF THE LORD!!!! Until you are hindered and can't go, you do not realize what pleasure it is in going.