Symptom Diary Card

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Perfect Tree

Missing you all and needing to say that I wish I had the energy to write more often.  I am still sleeping 12 to 15 hours per day.  I had the pleasure of getting a short respite with family over the past few weeks and some interesting new things happened while I was there. 

It is worth noting that my Avastin dosage has increased because I continue to gain weight.  (The weight gain is an entirely separate post, too complex to even discuss.) Ha!  

Anyways, I was walking on the kitchen floor and heard a cracking sound in my left foot.  The popping sound that accompanied a sudden surge of pain and inability to bear weight on said foot sent me to the ER.  I had only been there an hour!  Ha.  I am now wearing a big walking boot and do have a fracture in my left foot.  

Then for two days non-stop I was bedridden with terrible nausea and an evil headache.  What???  I am  on vacation.  

We missed the local tree lighting ceremony with all the holiday extras.  I felt terrible for my aunt. Instead of us walking around the town relishing in holiday cheer she was busy taking care of me.  I love my aunt so much.  I plan to visit next year for a do-over.

Then, yes there is still more, I had to go to the ER a second time because I had unexplained chest pain, neck pain and pain with shortness of breath.  Geeeeeze leweeeeze!

They treated me as if I was having a cardiac issue or embolism.  This has never happened before.  I was panicky to say the least.  When it first happened the noise of the TV was hard to bear and I could not turn my head.  The pain along my neck was on both sides, intense and sharp.

I was given a nitroglycerin patch, IV Lorazapam and some sort of blood thinner. The ER staff and physician were incredibly polite and efficient. They drew labs for cardiac enzymes, checked my legs and chest for blood clots and admitted me for overnight observation. They drew two more enzyme labs over the course of my stay and performed a stress test on my heart. I was very impressed and am so grateful for receiving such a complete cardiac work up. 

After all of THAT, my heart is in good shape, thank you dear Lord.  

What the cause of this mysterious chest episode was, I do not know. If it happens again then I will be referred to a cardiologist, per my PCP.

So this is where we get to the "perfect tree" part.  I return from my vacation exhausted, sleep 23 hours, and sadly realize that I can't get my Christmas tree without help.

I was delighted and thankful to find two ladies who selected, transported and set up a tree for me. To honor my mom, who passed away last November, I wanted to purchase my Christmas tree from Swanson's Nursery.  Swansons was her favorite nursery, such a beautiful place.

My Christmas tree is the perfect tree.  It represents real life.  The curved trunk, uneven branches, the way it appears as if it might just topple over at any moment.  I checked, it is secured tightly to the stand. It will never look balanced and even.  My tree this year is not a calming tree. It symbolizes unexpectedness and awkwardess, sufferig and loss, yet displays beauty and joy.

My Christmas tree is telling me to stay alert.  It is also taking forever to decorate.  As I write this post I am yet to hang the ornaments I received after mom died.  The box is here, it is the last box of ornaments to hang.  

I will do that tomorrow and post a photo when I am done.

As we embrace these next few weeks of holiday joy, from all cultures and religions, I pray you find your spirit renewed.  I will be blogging soon with more Christmas cheer.....I hope.

Merry Christmas


Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving

This day we give special thanks for all the goodness in our lives.  We think of those we love, those we've lost and those who are in need.  Even in our worst moments there is hope from God's love.  Never forget that you are loved.  God Bless you and your loved ones this Thanksgiving holiday.

Thank you God for this interesting and challenging life, and for all the love from my family and friends. 

Missing mom.  I love you mom.

Peace, Blessings and Love


Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Holidays In Small Doses

Ladies, I am thinking about those of you who are on your first course, or any course, of intensive chemotherapy. This time of year is an exceptionally difficult time to be experiencing side effects from surgery and treatments.  

I had spent several hours drafting a lengthy and detailed post that I was hoping could assist you in preparing for Thanksgiving.  God had other plans.  It got deleted, poof!  It must have been too long, ha! 

Do as I do, they say.  Here is the abbreviated version.

Maintain the essance of the holidays with simplicity, in every way.  Truly, keep things simple.

Mimimize expectations.  Worry not about tradition and what people think.  Trust in the people who love you. Let people help you.

Your body, mind, emotions and spirit are in turmoil.  Simplicity will help you keep your feet on the ground.

If you are a woman of faith, ask for God's help.  Ask people to pray for you.

I sigh heavily remembering how overwhelming everything felt during that first course of treatment, still in severe pain from my debulking surgery.  Experiencing the holiday season in small doses is just easier. 

I did wonder about things like how many more holidays do I have with my loved ones.  That is normal, for the most part.  Spreading out the opportunities to be with the people you love may help deflect some of that worry in your heart. 

If there is only one major event to attend, an enormous amount of pressure exists to make the most out of THAT one thing.  Instead pencil in more options for smaller manageable events here and there. If by chance you are feeling beat up on the actual celebration day, your cup will still feel full.

Well, you know what I mean.      

As the old saying goes, don't place all your eggs in one basket.  

I just want to avail myself as a sounding board.  I love this time of year.  I am so thankful and grateful for my family, friends, doctors and to God that I am here.  What else can I say?


Peace and blessings,

Saturday, November 15, 2014

World and

Sometimes we feel like the wind gets knocked out of our sails. Yesterday was definitely one of those days.  I have been spending time preparing to honor my mom on Sunday, as it would be her birthday. November is a hard month now, the anniversary of mom's passing, mom's birthday and moving through Thanksgiving, her favorite holiday.

Lot's of grief this month.  When I saw Diem Brown had died from ovarian cancer I cried.  She was a truly spirited and cheerful warrior. My tears reflected so much loss in our family and the knowingnes of another fighter removing her gloves.

I miss my mom so much.  Sunday I will celebrate her birthday with prayer and fond memory, looking at photos.  I feel kind of crazy, but it comforts me to talk to her whilst adoring her photo.  Sometimes I just stroke the hair in mom's photo and tell her how much I love and miss her.  I tell her I am sorry for being such a bratty teenager, for not being nice all the time, for fighting with her on our trip to New Mexico, for not spending enough time with her, for being a total failure as far as career goes and for not using my brain like I should have.

I can go on and on.  I pray that she is the first angel I see in heaven one day.

I am exhausted from treatments and grief but look for colors and light throughout each day, as I have nothing to complain about. 

I am sharing two different things today that I hope will inspire you.

1.   Here is a link to an interview with Diem Brown about her heartfelt charity,  A patient gift registry that eases the burden when sick and in need.

2.  I have sponsored a child via World Vision who shares the same birthday as my mom.  This sweet child and her family are in great need and World Vision is one of only a few international charities trusted by mom.  World Vision also helps children in the United States.

I felt a little funny filtering by birthdate, but I did accept the very first child that came up in the search.  I wanted to sponsor all the kids, ya know what I mean?  

So one unique way to honor a loved ones's passing is to sponsor a child in need. It is very fulfilling and most of all provides tangible resources and goodnes that can offer hope to the suffering.

I Love You and Miss You...........

Peace and Blessings,

Rest In Peace Sweet Diem Brown


Please select the link above for one of the many stories about this young woman's life.  Ovarian cancer may have claimed her body, but her spirit will live forever.

This news has broken many hearts today.

A star on earth is now a star in the heavens.

May we find a cure so no more women die.