Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Chemo Buddy

A beautiful morning. Bags, computers, water, quilt...check, check, check. I checked in and found a seat. Then we met Marty. Marty learned to speak English in 1968, Salt Lake City. He cannot read a word of English but speaks pretty well. I can say numbers in Spanish - to 10. As it turned out, we sat next to one another during our treatment. We heard a lot of stories and about his work as a fork lift driver...for 36 years. When he became ill, he lost his job. I hear this more and more. I thought there were laws to protect jobs when people become very ill. As he left, he came and shook my hand and spoke to me in Spanish. I knew the word "mucho". I said I will have to ask you to translate. No, I learned English, you will have to learn this in Spanish. So next time - I will have to write it or find an interpreter : )
Backing up a bit....I walked into the infusion center and was met with "Molly's MOM!" A woman came out of her seat and came to hug me. I recognized the face, but it was in the wrong place. She is a librarian at the library we frequent. She has worked with Molly for many years. She was diagnosed with breast cancer 9 years ago. Just last week, she was informed it has returned. She is now on chemotherapy for 6 months. She is still in shock. She needs our prayers. Her name is Simone. To go nine years without a problem and then a "smack down" - it's returned, is very hard. As she said, now I know what is coming...the first time around I didn't. I would agree with her. We can all deal with something bad one time....but the second time around...we're not quite so agreeable. She's always been so good to Molly; loves dogs (including her love of dachsies).
As for me. Another good blood report. The numbers are down just a bit, but still very, very good. Thank you God. Thank you for praying. Thank you...thank you. The "cold chemical" hits me with both barrels (wait until I get a Winchester....ya' scared yet?) Hands and fingers - "pins and needles". I went in to use some hair spray (you know I have flat hair and there are these devil winds in ABQ). I picked up the can & ONE spurt...blast!! INSTANT freezing hand and fingers. If you were ever so dumb (who me??) and just HAD to touch the dry ice the teacher brought in for "show & tell" at school one day...just one tiny touch... that is exactly how this feels. Exactly. Fair warning. No dry ice touching. My jaw pain, the SO over the top TMJ like pain is also neuropathy. Though it is considered a more rare side effect, Dr. Clark said, I'm sorry, looks like you have it. Some pain meds should help ease this pain. I do so like eating.
I have a new suit, a new scarf and a new winter hat for Easter Sunday. I will be there with my daughter, husband and friends. Corn bags, foot warmers, hand sized corn bags. I will - doing the Diane Keaton look. Hat, suit, scarf, GLOVES and coat. What she doesn't seem to have is a corn bag - I will have 2 for my hands and one to sit on. And if necessary, a quilt. I too can be Sam I AM. I will be at worship, Sam I Am.
Your mail is the best shot in the arm. A friend wrote about being in the boxing ring today for "Round 2". Sonny Liston, Mohammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. This is no "rope a dope"....this battle belongs to the Lord...and he has the Biggest boxing gloves.
"I know where I am going." --charlotte chandler quote from "Katharine Hepburn"
Phil 4:113
Love and many thanks! kathryn

Monday, March 29, 2010

Tuesday - Round Two

I've had 5 really good days in a row. I've cleaned, moved a few things around and have found my Swiffer duster - I am armed and ready for spring in Albuquerque. All I need is a cattle catcher on my car for those, big as Volkswagon, tumbleweeds.
I appreciate and need all of your prayers. It's a long time - committing to prayer for 6 months. With the "wall of prayers" - I feel more than covered in love and petitions!
I will write and let you know how things are going. God willing, I will end up with that "beautiful" blood work again. I pray so.
All of you basketball fans, March Madness has been a ride. We enjoy it when we can catch a game.
A week of remembrance, contemplating and celebrating.
Blessings and as always, abundant thanks!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Heroes Are Cool!

My dad (our dad) was a Railway Mail Clerk. For many of you, the only way you would know about this line of work is to go to the Smithsonian in Washington DC and visit a "Railway Mail Car". Every week, men left their families to ride on trains across this country, sorting and delivering mail to every city, town and village across this country. My dad loved his work. However, I don't believe he 'loved' leaving his family each week.
My dad was 6'3" tall. To me and my sister, Teresa, he was a giant. We would grab him around his legs and step onto his feet and ask him to walk us around the house; without fail, he would take us for a walk. I think back to those days...he probably worked all night on the train; arriving home in the late morning. He never said, No, I'm too tired. He would just walk and sometimes, reach into his "grip" (a little metal bag he carried) and hand us a peanut pattie or other candy bar --- which had come 'all the way from Amarillo, Texas.'
My dad had his first heart attack when he was 49 and by-pass surgery. It was the mid 70s and that surgery was relatively new. Though his life was changed, he went to work, loved his wife (my mom) and his family. He loved to fish and shared his love of fishing with many, many people. There was so many people at my dad's funeral. He loved people and people loved him. My dad is my hero.

My daughter, Molly. When doctors tell me I have this huge battle to fight, I think of Molly. She became seriously ill when she was 10 years old. She never complained; she did her school work; she made all A's and kept up with friends as best she could. Through the next 10 years, she continued to cope with overwhelming medical problems. She tolerated more medical tests and blood draws than anyone I've ever known. When we moved to Abq in 2002, she started the "Read To The Dogs" at Cherry Hills library. I opened the Albuquerque Magazine last month and skimmed the happenings for the month. There was a reminder for the "Read To the Dogs" program. Molly was 12 yrs old when she helped start that program. Children from all parts of this city have gained the confidence and skills necessary to read and read well. In 2009, she was diagnosed with two rare disorders. She had brain surgery this past September. On top of recovering from brain surgery, she contracted pneumonia and a viral infection. She was so very ill. She never complained. She did what the doctors told her to do; slowly regaining her strength. She's been so strong, so brave, so courageous. She made good grades, was involved in church mission trip/activities. One time she traveled to Los Angeles to work on Skid Row with children's who lived with very little or no hope of a better life.
Molly could have looked at her life as hopeless. She never did. She amazes me. I saw her at her worst in terms of her physical health; she was never defeated, tired? yes, but kept fighting through it. You are the wind beneath my wings. Molly! You are My Hero. i love you.

I cannot forget my dear friends, Renee' Tucker and Wilma Williams. Both LIVED there lives in spite of their battles with cancer. Their love of life and family, their laughter, their strength & tenacity, their "true grit" was and remains a great inspiration. It was no accident they were part of my life. They are the ones who hold me up. They faced down the giant. They fought for Life sometimes through severe obstacles and still could come up with something funny to laugh about.

They all lived out Phillipians 4:13 - and they ALL had very bad days. They were and ARE my Inspiration. I'm so blessed to have them and MANY others like them in my life.

Tonight, another hero is battling a chronic illness that he has had since he was in his early 20s. My brother in law, Jeff Stephens. Pray for him please. God knows; please pray for him and his wife, Cathy.

To you, Mike and Ruthie. Heroes. Both caregivers. You know what you mean to me!
I realize this is very long; it was on my heart and I had to get up and write. Thank you for keeping me tucked into your heart as well.
Be a hero to someone!
Thank you Jim, for being my favorite hero of all.
God's blessings!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


that was the the report on my blood work this morning! Marcia, my nurse, said she's never seen this before. Usually something shows up low on the report. I was thrilled and told her "I know why, that's God...many people are praying for me." So let me encourage you. God loves to hear from His children - he loves honest, fervent and constant prayers. And as one on the receiving end of this bounty - my heart overflows today. Thank you.
Winter is doing its best to hang on. Very warm at this moment, but temps will drop later today. The upside for here - moisture is always welcome.
From "Streams in the Desert 3/21 by L.B. Cowman
" "Praying through something might be defined as follows, "Praying your way into full faith; coming to the point of assurance while still praying that your prayer has been accepted and heard; and in advance of the event, with confident anticipation, actually becoming aware of having received what you asked."
Matthew 9:29
It's a red letter day here!
love to all, kathryn

Monday, March 22, 2010


"Who will buy this wonderful morning...? (hum a few bars, it will lift your heart : ) It is incredibly beautiful this morning. Someone is building something --- I head the steady rhythm of a hammer. That's comforting to me.
If you want to read a good piece on faith today, please go to the Proverbs 31 Woman website. Micca Campbell's words are strengthening this morning. We do not know great faith until we are tested. It's not our faith; but God's great faithfulness at work in our lives. I'll put that in my bag today too.
I feel a measure of success this morning. I am wearing only a heavy robe, house shoes and one scarf. My fingers are kind of "tingling" but it's nothing I cannot cope with. I am hoping the skies stay clear and the sun warm so I can take a little walk around my block. I walked 7 times around the backyard yesterday - coat, hood, etc etc. A soaked in as much Vitamin D as possible. I also cut some stems from my lilac bush yesterday. I've never forced anything to bloom indoors -- I hope this works. I would love to see these lilacs burst forth indoors as well as out!
This is my week off, sort of. Routine blood work and a visit to my surgeon's office. I so appreciate him. Say a prayer for Dr. Brown and Dr. Dudley. They do marvelous, incredible work and make it all look so effortless. They are kind, professional and yes, even dear men. I applaud them both! A prayer of thankfulness for all of these tireless servants who tend to our "ins and outs".
I love you guys. How I'd love to look each of you in the face and draw you in for a big, long hug and a kiss on the face. May God hold you and care for you in all the ways you need today.
My theme verse: "I keep a grip on Hope." Lam 3:21b The Message

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Papa Elf???

This is a wonderful shot of me! Someone in this house decided I look like "Papa Elf" from the movie "ELF". If I am turning into Bob Newhart, please send someone in from Extreme Makeover.

Could I have had a V-8 instead?

White fluffy snowflakes were drifting from the sky this morning. I believe that is the end of the snow for today. Spring arrives in it's own good time.

Several have asked me about my drugs. V-8, it is not. I take two standard colon cancer drugs, Fluorouracil (aka as 5-fluorouracil or 5-FU or Folfox). I take 5-FU modified 6. The next drug is Leucovorin, a "chemoprotectant"; a chemo enhancement drug. And last, but certainly not least, Eloxatin aka: Oxaliplatin. The drug that reminds me hourly, this is war. It is the drug that creates problems with anything cold. And today will be a good day for me to stay indoors.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday. I felt I was moving in slow motion. I was at my appointment longer than I had anticipated. A stop at Costco would be an outing (no limo Bill)for the day. I never realized how cold Costco is nor did I remember the store feeling quite so large. We picked up a couple of item and I was suddenly famished. A hamburger. Another cold place. I ate 3 bites and got a to go box.
Shuffled into the house, into sweats and bed. Coco was thrilled - a full afternoon and evening of napping.

Jim picked up a new anti nausea medication yesterday. A good night's rest and I'm feeling much better today. Coco is getting in her morning nap and I'm waiting on a cup of coffee.

If you care to read about these drugs, go to chemocare.com - look up drug list. Not only does it explain the side effects, put the purpose of the drug and how it works, in English.

Your notes make me tear up...they are heartwarming and make me SMILE : ) Perhaps one of these days I'll learn some tricks to this blogging thing. For now, this is sufficient. Whatever the weather is in your location; have a great day!
love kathryn

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 2

It's a beautiful day here in the desert. Supposed to hit 66 degrees.

I was unplugged from Round 1 about 2 hours ago. I came home and ate a good breakfast and am ready to hit the sofa for a little snooze.

Coco, our miniature dachshund, has her spot carved out and is sound asleep.

I will do my best to keep you posted on what is going on. I hope you will do your best and continue to communicate with me! Email and even a Hello, is very uplifting to me.

I will try and send photos from time to time.

One of the drugs I take creates cold sensitivity. I've called it "Instant Neuropathy". "Pins & Needles" sensation with even a slight touch of anything cold. I'll let you in on a secret....everything in your house is cold. A cofffee mug, door knobs, toilets, the flusher (brrr), can goods, butter knives, your dog's nose. Cold. I am presently sitting here with a ski hat, a cowl, a heavy scarf, gloves, sweatshirt, long sleeve shirt and sock. I have 3 blankets on top of me along with a well heated corn bag. Very strange feeling. I asked my nurse if the cold would abate during the time between treatments. I am getting very smart....I see her smile and read her mind. Ok. I don't have to wonder what I'll be wearing this summer. I'm going to hit the winter sale racks.

Your funny stories, your email, your love and support --- and I'll say this often. Your prayers on my/our behalf are better than anything in this world.

If you write and I don't write back - just know I'm curled up in a warm spot. I will write as often as I can. Everyone who knows me, knows I love to visit...and laugh : )

That's it for today. Be Blessed! kathryn