Sunday, May 30, 2010

Who Is That Masked Girl; Baby It Was Cold In The ER

A Little Hydration Dear

I woke up Saturday feeling pretty good, however, I had this sense of having two bodies. One that is functioning and the other is like shadow that likes to go very slow. Ruthie and I sat on the patio and drank our morning coffee and morning chatter. She picked up a funky pink dress at a local shop and we decided it was a must wear yesterday. We decided to take a little run to TJ Maxx ("a very little run".) I felt fine.
We went out to the ever lovely El Pinto restaurant in the valley. Perfect late afternoon for sitting outdoors and enjoy the scenery, cute waiter and delicious food. R went into melt down...she's a TexMex girl. Not quite used to the depth of flavor of Hatch chili : )
We took a few photos and headed for the car. I was still feeling very disassociated. One of Dr. Clark's nurses said if I was still feeling "odd" to go to the ER. I did that. My heart rate was too fast for me. After a few easy tests, my heart was fine, but I did need some hydration. Sometimes, no matter how much you drink - I feel I'm drowning some days in fluids, chemo wins out and leaves you dehydrated. I had 1-l/2 bags of fluid and finally felt myself coming back together again. NOW...I know when I'm feeling like two separate people, I need go get fluids - immediately. Everyone at the ER was "top drawer" last night. Compassionate and professional - doing just exactly the right thing. I love that and have enough of some of the crazier aspects of the ER (rare, but it happens...check with Molly).
Having a wonderful, soul restoring visit with dear Ruthie. We laugh, we cry and we giggle and have such a great time. So very thankful she was able to make this trip. We've known each other since 1974 - though miles have separated us, we are joined in heart. God gave her to me all those years ago and knit our hearts together during a life shattering event. The rest, as they say, is history. God is good at friendships...and knowing who we need for our "whole lives".
Jim has a terrible sore throat. No fever; believe allergies have caught up with him. We're taking a long deserved rest today. We are worshipping here this morning. Thank you for communion that was delivered this morning. Jesus you are King of Kings and Lord of Lords. We praise you for loving us and caring for our all of needs today.
much love, kathryn

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Speeding Toward the Finish of The Wedding Story!

Jim has been asking me to finish up our story. There have been a lot of miles and other stories since I stopped.
We did pack up and leave and yes, we did stop at the library and drop off books. We headed toward Virginia Beach. The first night, we made it as far as Fort Smith (though Jim kept saying =we must make time'...who was going to drive, we were exhausted. This getting married in 11 hours took it's toll...what with wedding ring exchanges, dealing with weeping parents and a mother in law who couldn't accept the reality of what had taken place!
This trip was one for the books. We had no money - cheapest place to eat in those days, was the Waffle House - "Good Mornin'", seems it was the same truck drivers and most assuredly the same waitress across the entire country. Time has robbed most of the conversations but nothing erases the beauty of Tennessee and North Carolina in the spring time. I had not ever been to those places before. I was very impressed.
We arrived very late into Virginia Beach. There was either a tropical storm or the tail end of a hurricane. Violent winds and rain as heavy as I've ever experienced. The promise of staying in a beautiful hotel "right on the beach" was soon dashed. There was a convention in town and back in those days, the night hotels filled up quickly. As we drove down (and I do mean DOWN) VA Beach Blvd, the hotel quality deteriorated quickly. We finally made it to The Buckaneer, obviously a hotel for "those on the run". We grabbed out bags and I took my first step into the room -- I sank up to my ankles in water and green shag carpet. Quickly, I decided I could jump from vinyl chair to the bed, the swing on the door frame into the bathroom...fortunately, the water had not reached that area. Standing on a bed in a hotel is like nothing else. Brushing your teeth, washing your face...all from the middle of the bed. Apologies was the only way we would begin our time together. Life would always be different and never dull.
The next morning, Jim got up to go pick up his things he had stored at "the fiance's house". Unknown to me - VA Beach/Norfolk sprawls out - it's a large city. I had not money, no credit card, nothing. I did have a lot of water under the bed. After he was gone for about an hour, I decided 'the fiance' must have looked pretty good to him after all and he had changed his mind. I was sitting on the bed, crying (that would be reason, I had no money and second "how would I walk out of VA Beach?), when he walked in and asked what was wrong. I gave my explanation and he shook his head. Welcome to the world of Jim and Kathryn. Those were some insecure years and those who knew my recent past, I believe understood that. We loaded up, thankfully leaving the soggy room behind and headed to the ship to get his orders to go to Washington DC. You may ask me about our purchase of a gross of items....hilarious.
Now back to Oklahoma to pick up my household goods. And to have a reception. The reception of the century. My sister in law (the one who decided Jim could and should have married anyone but me!) hosted. A friend of my mom's made me a beautiful cream colored dress. We walked in and immediately realized we must have walked into a post funeral dinner. Not a smile one. Grim, set jaws, sad for my Grandmother Parker. She was thrilled. Smiles all around. I kept overhearing her saying, "oh, she married a Navy man, they are clean you know". So how bad could it be, I married a clean man! After attending the funeral dinner, we left. Spent one more night in Broken Arrow and headed out early the next day for Washington DC.
Aneta Neil helped us find an apartment. We are glad we are still here. We were riding down a very busy Route 50 when she asked how long we had been married. We said 10 days. She turned completely around and looked at Jim, exclaiming over and over (one foot on the brake, one on the accelerator) "Well, I cannot believe that, you all act like you've been married for much, much longer." We were certainly praying that would be the case.
She took us to the apt we would rent. The rule of the land in No. VA, we had to wait 3 wks for a background check. 3 weeks - no money. Yipes. Aneta stepped in, she said, I know these people (we met that morning), he is the Navy, they pay their bills on time and they will be attending "that church" (she pointed to a roof top about l/2 block from out apt). Mrs. Jennings, tough as a boot, decided she would wave the 3 weeks and we could move in that afternoon. God's fingerprint started appearing everywhere.
That afternoon, a lady who lived on the 6th floor, knocked on our door. Just an introduction - they went to church at Falls Church (that rooftop I mentioned). They would be back from dinner if we needed anything. In less than 5 min, someone was at the door. It was Mack (yes, she was the women), she stuck a church directory photograph from 1964 into Jim...."Is that you and your family?" It was. Mack and Gil had crossed paths in Overland Park Kansas many years before and SHE REMEMBERED.
Speed forward a few weeks later. We were at Mack and Gil's and they mentioned their trip to Kansas. I said I was from Kansas and asked where they went. He listed a few place and ended a town I knew. My grandmother lives in a nursing home there. I said I wish I had known, I would have had you say hi to her. Gil asked, "who is your grandmother?" I told him, Jennie Bullington. He just broken up laughing, and laughing and I thought, it's not THAT funny. It was that funny. His mother and my grandmother shared a room in the same nursing home. They knew Jenny Bullington very well.
I tell all of that as the next 3 years were filled with experiences likes that. God was showing us many things. We were determinded to turn our lives around and when God knows this, he works overtime to make sure you see Him. His providence, his care, his people, his protection. We still look back in amazement at how gracious he was to us and still is. Sometimes we get lost in our lives and forget to recognize how God provides in the most unexpected and seemingly ridiculous ways. I love that. Sometimes he has to hit me with a 2x4 (I'm stubborn) and other times, it's so blatantly obvious, I weep. He loves me. He loves us.
Thanks for putting up with "the story". It continues to this day. Life is never dull. When I have what I call a "boring" day; I savor it.
He truly numbers and knows every part of my days. How do say to the Creator of the world, thank you? I think that's what you say. I'm blessed and so grateful....even when I don't understand, He's in it.
Blessings on your day!!!
love you kathryn

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It Was a Good Day at Cape Canaveral...

My counts were up some today. My neutrophils looked very good. A chemo day. In a couple of weeks I'll be back on my own schedule again. God Willing.
Thank you for your prayers and notes. Again, I caution you, this blog is about me and when something good is happening, gross or not, it's what I write about. My digestive track is waking up. I'm NOT saying I won't have problems again in that particular area, but as of the past 2 days, things have been working well. That is a huge deal and I am so grateful. We all take for granted things that come (out) naturally. When surgery or something else takes that natural function away, it makes life, well, quite painful. I am so grateful...and my heart goes to people who have to deal with this on a daily basis for the rest of their lives (I know a few of those people). We take for granted our good health. Yes, we say we are thankful for our health, but when we lose it; suddenly we realize how precious our good health is.
How nice to see a dash of zip code rain this evening. I think it was about 2" --- raindrops 2" apart. Welcome to NM rain.
Thank you for your support and for sticking with me. love kathryn

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Few Letters Spoke Volumes

I got out my sticker box and put together a t-shirt to wear to the cancer center. When Brandy asked who I needed to see today, I opened up my sweatshirt and viola'!!
A ticket to the injection clinic. The girl who administers shots asked why I was there....they always ask, never assume anything, again, I opened up my sweatshirt to show her my t-shirt. Laughter. I want them to know I KNOW, Neupogen is on the agenda for the duration of chemo.
Good day here. I am very anxious to see if my counts have returned to a level where I can have chemo tomorrow. I pray so.
Jim had his stress test on his heart: Perfect.
Someone close to me had some tests run today: Perfect. No problems.
Now it's time to bathe the Weenie Dog. May God sing over you tonight.
love kathryn
You are pondering the Big Girl Underwear? Admit it, you were. When you come here, you will be asked to sign in please! It's a constant reminder to put 'em on and get ready for the day. As Colleen Crowder would say it, Man up! and rub some dirt in it!
You Go Colleen!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Bit Like Cape Canaveral...

No chemo today. My counts were "critically" low. A bummer. How I like staying on schedule - I do not know a soul at the center who doesn't want to "stay on schedule". Neupogen today and tomorrow. I hope my body is ready to go on Thursday morning. Yes, a disappointing day, but Peggy was there to hold my hand and that was comforting to me : ) Jim was also there --- he was eating lunch when we got the news...he is ever ready to load up the car. He is one of the good guys...he wears a white hat. He goes for a stress test tomorrow at the heart hospital. Praying that all goes well.

My favorite quote:
Be kinder than necessary, everyone is fighting some kind of battle."

Good night from Albuquerque, love kathryn

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Judy In Disguise...I Guess I'll Just Take Your Glasses

Cannot imagine a better disguise for the way I felt this morning. Dizzy...I can sing all kinds of songs, "i'm so dizzy, my head is spinning, like a whirlpool, it never ends." I have Meclizine and will take it if that feeling consumes me again. 5 FU does make one dizzy.
Me and Groucho are taking it easy today. Enjoy you Sunday afternoon.
love, a former ditsy blonde...

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Solomon Says, There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

There are several songs that speak to this, one by Jeremy Camp is good too. It speaks to the Undercurrents I mentioned this morning.


this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you

this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you

And I, I'm desperate for you,
And I, I'm lost without you,

I'm lost without you,

I'm lost without you.

I'm lost without you.

I'm lost without you Lord,

this is the air I breathe
this is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me

this is my daily bread
this is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me

And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm lost without you.

---Michael W. Smith (I think)

Mammogram/Ultrasound...Beam Me Up....

Several have asked about my mammogram/ultrasound tests this past Thursday. All is clear. Clear!!! You never know how much you are holding your breath until they blow the "all clear" whistle. Due to a 20 pound weight loss (this fluctuates) the "lump" I felt is the top of my rib cage and the cartilage around that part of our ribs. I'll take that any day of the week.

Yesterday I had some acupuncture. It's such a relief to lay on that table and let her do her work. I feel so much better. She did a lot yesterday. My hands are still tingling, but feel some better today. She's very gifted and I am very fortunate to have found her and to get to go once a week.

I wrote a friend this morning, I sense a shadow of fatigue following me around this morning. I am more awake today than I was for the past two day. I'll have to pace myself...."have to pace myself...have to". I forget when I feel the least bit better, I cannot spend my energy as I do when I'm well.

Today, the grout is going to be sealed in the kitchen and laundry room. This means a round of floor mopping, but it will be so nice to have our table and accessories back in the kitchen again.

The work undercurrent comes to my mind over and over again. I feel the undercurrent breeze, as I am right now. I do not think of God as an undercurrent - he is God, but I think of his Spirit in that way. He carries me, he sustains me, he holds me up, he sings over me, he enables me to get through rough patches in the day. I'm going to have to think about that some more. No matter what - God's spirit is the great encourager and keeps me singing as I have needles placed into my body. It pours of our me (I sing silently...goodness, wouldn't want to frighten anyone).

love you
Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Brain May Fail Me, God Never Does

I was missing my brain today. Jim made the comment "you leave thoughts in every room". That's very accurate. I can think of doing something, head in that direction and find myself doing things like, picking up clothes, making the bed, part way, picking up a magazine and reading a page or two. I think of what it was that brought me here in the first place and try and make my way back to Point A. Point A vanished. I decided to share what I found (in brief) on the effects of chemo brain. Last night was a huge evening. I actually read 6 pages,from "Dinner at Miss Lady's" (thank you Chris). I was so proud. Today I actually remember a few words from the reading. For the multi-tasking queen, this has been a major life change. May this be temporary; I so miss reading a good book and writing checks while changing the sheets.

*forgetting things that they usually have no trouble recalling-- memory lapses
trouble concentrating--they can't focus on the task at hand
*trouble remembering details like names, dates, and sometimes larger events
*trouble multi-tasking, like answering the phone while cooking, without losing track of one of them-- less ability to do more than one thing at a time
*taking longer to finish things --slower thinking and processing.
*trouble remembering common words--can't finish a sentence because you can't find the right words
If we are talking and you are confused...don't worry, your are not alone.

love kathryn

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Such A Good, Good Day

"..Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure, in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." Deuteronomy 33:12

I stole the verse from Proverbs 31 devotional today...for it "where" I was today. I rested between his shoulder. A lovely place to be.

I had my mammogram/ultrasound today. The "lumps" turned out to be the tops my ribs. I've lost a bit of weight, so that unusual lump was right on...however, it was not 'lumps' at all. Praise the good Lord today - I needed that news.
Ribs - they are a good thing. Both in our bodies and on our plates at a summer bbq. (beef or pork ribs that is).

I was able to go out to lunch with not one but two friends today. Delightful time. A good bowl of soup without the metallic taste in my mouth and lots and lots of loud laughter and a great time of sharing our hearts. How good that felt.

I came home and still had energy. I grabbed Coco and off we headed for Hobby Lobby. We had to see what was going on there. We ran into Kevin from NP - such a delightful guy. Always a good word and easy to visit with.

I just wanted you to know those prayers that God puts into his storehouse - He hears, he listens, his ever present heart is with us. I am loved; I am provided for; I have wonderful doctors and nurses - available and at the ready....let me tell you just how ready!

Marcia (nurse)was having difficulty drawing blood from my port (sorry, graphic) on Tuesday. After years of going to the infusion center, I understand nurses take it very personally when needles do not work when and how they should. They WILL win or else. She told me to cough, I coughed. She said, laugh - hearty fake laugh, nothing. Ok, lean forward slightly. I did that. Nothing. She said I'm getting something else. When she came back, I decided to help her out, so I "leaned forward". She said, as she pushed me back into the chair, "lean back and just relax!!!" We all laughed - very loudly. She was so embarrassed...she apologized, however, it worked, my blood just poured into the tube. Jim came late on Tuesday and suggested she "committed assault and battery on his wife"....she said, well, not battery, assault maybe. : ) Whatever works. I just have to remember to sit back and relax. I shall and I do. I'm in great hands. These angels of mercy.

Have a good rest of the week in your world. Prayer is MIGHTY and powerful. Please continue to pray for all you have promised your prayers to. Intercessory prayer is amazing grace to all of us.

love you Kathryn

Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Be Obscure Clearly" -- e.b.white

Saturday night. I have felt better today...the end of the week, at the end of a chemo cycle. Tuesday, Round 2. Acupuncture is helping ease some of the symptoms. No, it's not's very comforting and helpful. I love my acupuncture doctor. She's so kind and so gentle.
I was thinking about my time on "the cold chemical". Walking around with a coat, gloves (vintage; flower pattern), scarves, and earmuffs definitely set me apart from the "regular folks". Even when the weather turned warm, I was still in my heavy wool coat with full winter accessories. Needless to say, this attracted attention. People either ignored me or pretended to ignore me or they would stare for a long time and walk away or ask "if a cold front was 'coming in'." Here are a couple of my favorite stories.
On one of those warmer days, I decided it was time to buy a straw hat. what with summer coming, I needed one more accessory -- one to help protect myself from the if. I live in New Mexico. I walked into Ross. Now Ross Dress for Less attracts a cross section of our population. I actually believed I fit right in. While doing "the stroll", to see if there were any bargains, I encountered people staring, people changing aisles (is it the pink earmuffs or just me?) I was heading back to the hat area and spotted a wicker shopping cart. It was crammed into a shelf, loaded with stuff. I dug through the junk and found it to be in perfect condition. Just what I needed. I could use it at the house as well as carting my stuff to the cancer center. Trust me, as I pulled out into the main aisle, my fellow shoppers cleared the aisles.
I "wheeled" into the hat area. A lady commented (giving me wide berth) on how large the hats were...wondering why they couldn't make a smaller size....all the while, she never took her eyes off of me. I was looking at the hats and said, "o! here's one that is smaller." I turned to show her and she was gone. Like disappeared. I grabbed my cart and my hat and headed to the front of the store. I needed a mirror to check out this "perfectly sized hat". I put my purse into the cart and put my hat on. Then...I looked in the mirror and burst out laughing. It fit all was a Disney hat - embellished with a plastic heart of Ariel, Cinderella and Belle right on the front of the hat. How I wished Molly had been with me. I bought it. Who wouldn't? Pink earmuffs and a Disney hate. Priceless.
A couple of weeks ago, we went to Whole Foods. I was all decked out in my "ski gear" and my purple earmuffs my mom gave me. As I was walking in, a man was looking directly at me. He said, "well, it is a little chilly out today." (80 degrees). He looked like someone who wanted to know - really know. I told him I took a drug that made me cold. He told us he had heart problems and had just returned from upstate NY - and how he was cold all of the time and how miserable he felt. He then told us his wife had been through cancer/chemo/radiation. We bonded...over purple earmuffs. He got it.
There really isn't a story with this..but when I flew to Oklahoma/Kansas, I had to fly through Phoenix. As I got off the plane, everyone was dressed for summer. Flip flops, shorts, tank tops....I walk off with two scarves, a wool coat, pink earmuffs and black gloves. Adults would not make eye contact with me, however the kids - staring and pointing and so intrigued by my earmuffs. "Don't stare honey."
I wouldn't wish this drug on anyone - anymore than I would wish cancer on anyone, but there is always something funny in the most difficult of situations....
Now I'm still wondering about the music professor at Friends University....I hope my brother has filled him in on the person with the blanket and purple earmuffs. : )
Have a good Sunday,
love kathryn

Friday, May 14, 2010

It Made Me Smile....

Last year, we had to buy a new washer. When it was delivered, the delivery guy accidentally ripped the vinyl flooring. Aw shucks. We had wanted a new floor and just couldn't justify it with other expenses. However, since Sears delivered, they were responsible and contributed to our new floor.
We finally decided to get this job completed and this time, as my brother in law says, it was time to "write a check". Jim didn't have the time or the energy to lay tile in the entry, kitchen and laundry room. This made us a bit nervous as Jim does a great job of tiling and we know he will show up for the job.
Well, writing a check was well worth it. A job well done and completed in 2 l/2 days. Jim is putting up new baseboard and will have that finished tomorrow. The painting will follow.
I was having a slow morning and came out about noon to see the finished project. Our tile guy has been through similar life experiences. His daughter will have another surgery in CO next week; his wife had thyroid cancer several years ago. He couldn't be a day over 30.
As he was leaving, he reached out and hugged my neck. I thought, now how many people hug their tile guy? He's one of the good guys. He is personable, has a strong work ethic, loves his little family and cares about the people he is working for. I've never hugged a refrigerator repair man or the dishwasher repair guy - never crossed my mind. He reminds me of Dain; it just seemed to fit.
A side note. I made dinner for us tonight. That felt good as well. Tomorrow, my acupuncturist will work with my hands and help me with the neuropathy.
Jeff, I hope you enjoyed your "Dump Cake". It was good to hear you were up and baking yesterday.
Good night to all,
love kathryn

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Friend's Mom...

My Spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. Psalm 142:3
Josie Plunk was diagnosed with colorectal cancer, metastasized to her lung and brain (4 tumors). Her daughter, Amy, was a student worker when I worked at Freed-Hardeman. Josie knew she was not feeling well over the weekend and suspected a stroke. This was not even remotely suspected. Josie lives near Jackson TN and will be receiving treatment in Jackson until they can move her to MD Anderson, Houston. Her situation is grave. Josie is a not only beautiful on the outside, but lovely on the inside as well. Please remember her and her precious family.
I should not have one complaint. Fatigue continues. The nurse said the neupogen will help in building up my blood; for now, I am resting.
When I have a moment, I am working on some bags for summer. They are pretty cute. I just cannot sit for hours on end and do what I like to do.
A lovely day here in Albuquerque. No winds, no heat - perfect. I am banned from the sun, so enjoy it as it streams through my window.
Asking for God's special miracle for Josie.
Asking for God to bless and keep the Plunk family today and everyday.
love kathryn

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Treatment #5...what's next??

I had a long day at the cancer center. Arrived at 9:30am. I arrived home at 3:10pm and instantly fell into a deep, coma like sleep.
Though I still have problems with cold (no idea of how long this will last), I didn't have that immediate COLD impact. My teeth didn't get cold, my hands didn't instantly freeze. No Oxilaplatin. There is a part of me that is thrilled, yet there is this other part of me that will pray this was the right decision over the long haul. I could no longer deal with the side effects. I was so sick - 11 days of nausea and no relief from feeling so bad. There will be side effects with this drug, I'm just not sure how they will "play out".
I have a ministry I can do. I can make corn bags. I took some to Simone' and have an order for some hand size bags. For people dealing with cold disorders such as Raynaud's or heart problems, they are wonderful. My back was completely out this morning. I used my corn bag the entire time I was there. I have no back pain this afternoon. I'm not saying feed corn has any special curative materials, but the heat is very helpful.
Last night, I found a couple of lumps in my breasts. I have fibrocystic "disease" and they are probably just simple cysts. I will have a mammogram next week. I cannot be on my normal 'seven year plan' as I've been in the past with mammograms. We will NOT borrow trouble...I will ask for your prayers.
From Dr. Groopman's book on Psalm 23: "Rabbi Hamilton pointed out to me that the psalm suggests two very different scenes. The first is an idyllic one: green pastures and still water. The second is a harrowing on: the valley of the shadow of death. In the idyllic setting, God is somewhat distant and is spoke of in the third person: "he" maketh me to lie down in green pastures, "he" leadeth me beside the still waters. But then there is an abrupt shift in scene and of God's person. When the Psalmist walks through the valley of the shadow of death, God is addressed as "thou". The change to the familiar indicates that God has moved near to us, become a close companion, allaying our fear, supporting us with rod and staff, nourishing us in the presence of our enemies. Faith is most powerful when God is felt as proximal and personal."I have a very aggressive cancer. It's true; we've been through adversity before. God stands right next to us, even lets us sit in his lap, while He holds us. The times of being awestruck are vivid and true.
On the lighter side, my nurse had to speak to the dr today re: cysts/lumps. He said, she's complicated (meaning my cancer?!?) She said, she's an essay. She said he smiled and looked at her and said, "yes, you are so right - she is an essay." Jim added: no multiple choice questions.
This will explain my long posts...that made me laugh. Dr. Clark and I are bookends...he at one end of the scientific spectrum, me at the emotional/feeling end with enough logic which makes me a hard cold realist.
Loved Emily Dickenson's poem, Lisa...someone wrote recently, "where would we be without Emily Dickenson?" I agree. She spoke from her heart and wrote with incredible clarity and meaning.
Being a rear view mirror person, I see how very faithful God has always been. Though I don't always understand the reasons, I trust Him to be faithful in his work.
love to you all,

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Always looking for a "little good news"...well, I have some. My niece, Leah Kathryn Killebrew, is officially engaged. We needed some upbeat news this week and this is it! She and David will marry in Grapevine TX, January, 2011. An exciting time their lives. We sent our hearty congratulations to Leah, David,her parents, Dan and Teresa and David's family.
It feels like a normal day here. Jim is jack hammering out old tile --- good bye to very dirty rose colored grout. New tile is coming on Thursday. The entry, kitchen and laundry room will finally wear the same tile. And no rose colored grout in sight. I think this all falls into "a little good news".
I am looking forward to Mother's Day. Time with Molly and to be together as a family.
This has been a very difficult 2 weeks. Not impossible; difficult. Chemotherapy is does not just affect me physically, it affects me at every level. All who have been down this road are grateful for the medical community and the advances in treating cancers that would have killed us even five years ago. It is, however, a mixed bag. I want the treatments, but so dislike the effect this has had on my entire life. Though I'm in the beginning phase of this, I find if I admit to what I do not like, I do better than if I'm trying to play a game of "this is fine". That's not reality...because cancer is never fine - being sick with anything, is not "fine".
Right after my diagnosis, I found a book, The Anatomy of Hope. As I've skimmed through some other blog sites, this book, touches deep. Dr. Groopman writes this in his introduction.
"Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it.. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that "things turn out for the best." But hope differs from optimism (positive thinking). Hope does not rise from being told to "think positively", or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see - in the mind's eye - a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion."
I am deeply grateful to this dear doctor for his work in the areas of cancer and AIDS, but for his research on hope; for real hope is that which keeps me fighting and getting up out of bed everyday. To all of you fighting battles in your life. Grab hold of true hope and know God is in the midst of every battle.
That should do it for today. A very blessed, happy, fun, wonderful, satisfying, non cooking, Mother's Day to all of you marvelous women who love and serve your families. Here's to you!
Thank you, Leslie for the reminder: "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, YOU preserve my life...Ps. 138:7
love kathryn

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I'm very tired and craving a bagel and cream cheese. I wanted to update my chemotherapy changes.
After 4 treatments on 5-FU and oxaliplatin - I'm bidding it farewell...praying it has done it''s work and will continue to do it's work. Dr. Clark told me to return to his office this week with one word - describing how I felt after this treatment. I did. "Uncle". This last treatment was horrendous. Hot flashes, cold flashes, nausea, nausea, fatigue, neuropathy to the point that gloves no longer provide protection from anything - cold or medium or hot. Then there was nausea, fatigue, nausea, nausea, fevers, nausea and fevers. I do not believe the impact of this particular therapy has come full circle...yet. I had done all of the research I could do. I knew, intellectually, what was coming. Intellectual knowledge is good. I believe in it. It could be said it would be like telling you, I know about China. I have a little (very little) knowledge about China. However, if I was set loose in the country of China, you would find me curled up into a fetal position, sobbing for my mother. I would then say, I read about China, I never knew it was like THIS. The language barrier would overwhelm me right off the bat. Same thing with oxaliplatin and Modified Folfox 6. I was not yet to the point of begging for my mother, but I was crying "uncle"....and this uncle has no name other than "enough".
Next Tuesday, God willing, I will begin taking 5-FU and Leucovorin. I will take at least 2 rounds; 6 weeks on; 2 weeks off. Depending on how things look, there may be a round 3. I've been forewarned. Since I have had 4 treatments with these MAJOR (yes, they are ALL major) drugs, I will be closely monitored. Yes,I know you want to know what I wanted to know: side effects. Mouth sores (I do the treatments for this already), diarreha (spell this, ok?) and low blood counts. I'm already experiencing this. If you come to visit, you will find me masked and gloved. There are others - and if there are others, I am pretty sure I will experience them. A friend said, whatever is on the list - expect it. I do and will remain very pleased if some pass me by. I've read enough cancer memoirs, I know how very, very bad these treatments can get - to the point of death. I am not there - not by a long stretch.
So, with a calendar in hand that means therapy will be complete on either: August 10 or October 5 - depending.
The big question: how long will the cold/hot flashes last? It will be slow to leave my system. I hope since it's going to be will kill a lot of cancer cells while it's departing my body. A LOT of cancer cells. If I must have cold/hot flashes and neuropathy, it should remain at it's post - smashing those nasty bad cells to pieces.
I have a new visual that some of you can relate to. I am not too much on visualization, but this one was part of my childhood, so it was easy. Remember when you or your someone in your family got a new toy gun and it came with a roll of caps? We got tired of trying to get them to fire in the gun, so we would take them out of the gun (or box) and lay them on the driveway....grab a small hammer and "bang, bang, bang" those caps until they were totally demolished. That's my visual in this battle. Cancer cells are caps and God along with these drugs are the hammer. Works for me.
I love your comments - either on the blog or via email or phone. I am not alone. God is right here, all of the time, hot flashes, cold flashes, nausea and funny moments, either here or at doctor's offices. There is a great deal of love floating around out there. Do you even know your impact - covering people with prayer; bathing them in cards and caring; that is mercy. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. I could list a list of people a mile - 40 miles long or longer who have shown not only me and our family, mercy, but to everyone they come in contact with.
As for me and for our house, you bless and restore us daily.
As always, any questions, comments...anything you'd like to say or mention is welcome. I still hope this is a small way of helping one another along the way.
And a special mention for my vacuum angel: you just rock. Thank you, Peggy.
My brother is back in the hospital for some medication adjustments. Praying this will relieve the ongoing Afib situation.
My niece mentioned her little 6 yr old friend, Cameron. He has leukemia and has yet another treatment coming up. As a mom with a chronically ill daughter, my heart just goes out to his parents. Life is not for the lilly-livered, that is certain. God bless and keep us.
love to all, kathryn

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rough Waters

Save for the intense fatigue, Chemo: Round 4 reminds me of a little ferry ride from Point Judith to Block Island, RI. Everything looked so good, the waters out of Point Judith, smooth as glass. Then we hit the Atlantic and it hit us with a vengence. Gilligan's little crew didn't have it as rough as we did that fall day in 1984.
I took a good dose of B12 yesterday and am waiting for that Popeye energy blast. Perhaps I should have had a can of spinach too.
My brother is recovering from open heart surgery. The ablation hasn't taken affect yet, so he is suffering with atrial fib. Those who have this problem or have had it understand that "galloping horse" sensation. "Be still (or calm!) my heart.". He is quietly celebrating his 62nd birthday.
I will get back to wedding story. Just not today.
God bless you all who keep up with us on this journey...blessings on you for your prayers and for your love and care.
love, kathryn