Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall is here I think.

This will be a quick post.

Suddenly getting hit with the reality that Andrew needs to apply to colleges. We have determined that he will apply to Central, Western, Michigan State, and Grand Valley. He is re-taking the ACT in October but I think he will still be ok for Central and Western with his current score. I am glad his College Writing class required him to write college essays as what he wrote will cover most of the essays of these schools. It gives him a good start on the tough part of the apps...the online part is really rather easy. Especially since I can look it over before he sends it in!

Still coughing. It is homecoming week at NHS. And of course the cold bad weather decides to hit. Tomorrow night is the Powderpuff game and then Friday is pep rally, parade, game and dance. We have lost our last two games and it has been quite sad in our house.

Just wanted to mention that today is our angel Ava Christine's birthday. Ava continues to hold a special place in my heart as an everyday reminder to love all children and to appreciate all that we hold dear to us. Happy Heavenly Birthday Ava, you will never, ever be forgotten.

ok, must go cough some more.

Love to you all!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Poop. The Vikes lose a tough tough one

What a downer last night was. We lost 20-16 to Marshall, which in any other year would have been a decent showing but we were up 16-0 going into the 4th quarter. This is one of those losses that is hard to shake...three touchdowns were called back, and two of them were horrible, film proven, mistakes by the refs. You just sit there and think "what if". The problem being married to a coach and in a family of coaches is that I KNOW what this loss means--most likely our playoff chances are done. It will take a hellacious effort for us to beat two of the three games vs. Lakeshore, St. Joe and Portage Northern. ARGHHKK...I don't want to even think about it. Andrew again had to play both offense and defense and against a physical team like Marshall, I think the kids playing both ways got tired and I know it affected Andrew. He is walking like a 90 year old man today. But you know, it isn't all that serious and as teenagers always do, we will recover!

I have been in bed almost all day because I definitely have a terrible chest/throat infection. i am coughing like crazy--sweating--blowing my nose--uck. I think Andrew is getting better as is Josh. Josh came home from school early on Friday and slept all day. Jim is the only one that doesn't have it.

Still upset about Valerie. And wondering about Stephanie, whose doctor is recommending chemo. Just curious about her path report--makes me think she has some other mixture of wierd cells in her tumor.

I need to take a shower. My cold sweat is beginning to be annoying.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Valerie's ACC is back.

Valerie is an ACC/breast survivor I met online. She was diagnosed a little bit after I was and had a mastectomy with no other treatment. Just this last week she went to see her surgeon about a cyst on her back and he noticed two small lumps in an area above the mastectomy site. They were painful. Yup, her ACC is back. Her news sent me reeling into reality. This is cancer we are talking about and no matter what my attitude is, no matter what my tests reveal, etc., it still could come back. Valerie has had such great attitude--never once worried out loud to me anyway--and went about her life. She did go visit Dr. Helen Chew who is supposedly the ACC/breast guru on the West coast when she was first diagnosed. Dr. Chew said she was good to go.

The good news is the prelim MRI's are showing those two lumps only so I think it just means more surgery for her. I don't think she had reconstruction. Sigh. And I was feeling so good!

Going to run up to watch the love of my life coach. Such a good wife I am!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day TWO of no school. Mike I, read this.

Day Two of no school. There is a dam on the north side of Niles that the authorities were concerned may was built in the early 1920's and they are not sure how much she can hold. Well, here it is the afternoon and she is ok...thank goodness. I got an email from my superintendent and we have re-routed some buses so we WILL have school tomorrow. Goodness. Two days off already. Andrew is thrilled because as a senior he doesn't have to make up any days --just in case we get many snow days. I think we have enough time to have 4-5 snow days...and rain days I guess!

Mike I--I have been meaning to tell you this for about a month! Every year the Daily Star does a, doctor, hair salon, etc. This year they had BEST teacher and you were nominated! I thought that was so cool. There were about 10 nominations...I was flattered to be nominated too..along with Jenny Nate...but I just thought it was neat that someone who had moved away was nominated. Someone is still thinking about you!( Because Danny B was also nominated for BEST COACH, I think Ginger probably did all the nominating of us Brawleys. : )

Took the kids to Hacienda for lunch. Why I even order any food is beyond me...I usually eat all the chips. The area where the restaurant is was under a no boil order because of the water and we first got our pop and it was awful...when we asked why, she said it was from a 2 liter. Now for most of you, this is no big deal, but those of you who know me well, know my vice is my Diet Pepsi (or Coke) fountain pop. It has to be fountain pop. I don't like cans, or bottles. Luckily, she said, they were just trying to use up the 2 liters but that the fountain pop was working. Such trauma for me.

My kids are obsessed with ping pong. Jim is supposedly getting a ping pong table from a friend and we are going to put it in our...well kitchen/family room area. It will look ridiculous but Andrew is only here for another year, and I really don't care, so what the heck? Cancer allows us to do silly things like put a ping pong table in the middle of the family room and kitchen.

Both Andrew and Josh have awful colds or snotty heads...not sure what it is, but I am becoming OCD with my Bath and Body Work antibacterial hand serum....ugh. Andrew was up all night and is much worse than Josh. They both slept in so that should help a little.

Not much else to say. Love to you all!


Monday, September 15, 2008

Where is the Ark?


Today was a "no day", not a "snow day" of school. Niles sits in two counties and one of the counties, Cass, was flooded so badly that the road commissioners said that they would not allow buses to travel their roads...thus, we were canceled today. I normally love snow days, but mentally didn't really need the day off...mid-week cancellations are the best, but I guess I shouldn't complain. The rain was insane this weekend. Both kids decided not to go to the Notre Dame game, that was how bad it was!

Slept in 'til 8 AM and continued trying to dry out our basement. I know we aren't any worse off than some people, but our basement smells wet, looks wet, and IS wet. I hate going down there but laundry must be done. Tonight when Jim gets home from work we will continue to try to dry things out. We have a carpet remnant near the machines that is soaking wet. Our two dehumidifiers are working overtime! I can imagine the bacteria and mold growing down there. Maybe I need to wear a mask?

I must say that I am very happy and calm these days. Hardly thinking about cancer...I am still wheezing a little bit...but so is Andrew so I think we are just suffering from allergies. I am just happy and pretty much ignoring anything physical --LIKE A NORMAL PERSON!

My bc sister Stephanie had to have her tissue expanders removed because she wasn't healing. Gosh, that would have been terrible. It's hard to believe that I am over a year away...was home on mastectomy leave this time last, it went fast. Steph, I bet healing goes much better this time. Keep up the good work.

Kristina, I am so jealous you went to Europe! Congrats girl!

What else? The Vikes won another game last Friday--against my alma mater, Kalamazoo Central. We played very well offensively and seemed pretty confident. But, once again, another team awaits us--Marshall--and they are always really good and physical. Andrew is at practice as we speak. Sports must continue despite flooding, of course.

Today was a great day. I am so happy I am off the worry kick, even if I know it is short lived.



Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't ever forget.

Well hello there...

Long time. Doing well. Still no phone call from Dr. A so I am not really thinking about it. I still have allergies though...Andrew is suffering from the same thing I am.

I am loving the cooler weather. Hard to believe as I am a summer lover, but it has been too hot at school and getting ready in the morning brings me what feels like hot flashes. This is tough time of year to figure out what to wear. Cold in the morning, hot by afternoon.

Today I got in a physical altercation with our copier machine at work. Somehow I became the goddess of all printing and had to print 1400 letters to parents about how to access grades on line. That in itself takes time because I have to watch the letters come off the printer or they fly all over the place! The BAD part of it today was the order before mine kept jamming and after 7 times of sticking my hands in to get the flippin' jams out , I posted a big sign on the thing that read "I am EVIL." But of course, Marcia, my secretary fixed it all and I calmed down. I think the whole process took about two hours. Not the best use of my time.

Today is 9/11. I always pause on this day as I do NOT want any of us to forget about this day. I know we all remember what we were doing and where we were.

Jim is in Kalamazoo coaching and Josh is at home driving me nuts. Right now he is taking a straw and putting it under his armpit, and then running to the bathroom, slamming the door, and making awful noises. He is also filming this on a digital camera. Why are boys so silly??? Andrew is at practice and team dinner...not sure what Josh and I are going to have. Now Josh is taking Combo pretzels and putting a straw through th cheesy part of the combo... so he has a "combo tree."

Not much else to say, believe it or not. Looking forward to the weekend but always seem to have growing piles of laundry.

Check those boobies out tonight if you haven't in awhile.


Saturday, September 6, 2008

No news is good news...I hope

Hello--Well, no phone call from Dr. A's office. He said they would call if it was anything to be concerned about. No call. Hopefully, they have the report and found no reason to call. I started to second guess myself about what he said to me...I know he told me to call on Friday if I wanted...otherwise, I wouldn't hear from them unless there was something to be concerned about. So I took that to mean they would call me on Friday. But maybe they are waiting until Monday? See, that is how my brain works. But yesterday, I was ok until I started playing things over in my head. I did NOT want to call..I literally FREEZE when I am waiting for results. So I am going on the assumption that all is well. My sister said Dr. A probably saw the results himself since the xray was in his office so she thinks I for sure would have heard by now.

So today I am buying a new purse. My second NED (no evidence of disease)purse. I need to get a fall Vera summer one...well, I used it every single day and it is getting ugly from dirt...yes, I did wash it...but the purse getting dirty is a great reason to get a new one don't you think?

I did not see Stand up for Cancer last night on TV but heard it was great. It is about time we did something like that. I am not insensitive to the AIDS dilemma but have always felt, even before I was diagnosed that CANCER should also have the same fund raising efforts on such a celebrity scale. I hope it went well. On a sad note, a fellow BC sister on my Yahoo list group died this week. She was 42. They posted her obit on the list serv and I about freaked when I saw her...she looked JUST LIKE ME. Dark curly hair, a bit on the larger size. Plus she was triple negative. She didn't have ACC, and her mets came exactly one year after her diagnosis. Triple Negative is a very serious breast cancer. I am triple negative but all ACC is but it is still considered a slow growing cancer...most triple negative breast cancer is aggressive.

Andrew won last night! He had a great game personally, but got a 15 yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty! so not like Andrew. I was actually proud that he showed some emotion. Not much rattle him. Supposedly what happened is a kid tackled him and said "take that! In fact, you are gonna be takin' it all night long"--the kid was in his face, spitting etc. So Andrew said, with his arms open, "well, you'd better start now 'cause it's 6 -0 already." Well, the ref saw and heard that part, but not the other. (I still think Andrew must have dropped the F bomb but was too embarrassed to tell me) We ended up winning 34-0. They took Andrew out when it was 28-0 but he finished with a touchdown, and two touchdown passes. So a good night. (next week will be much tougher so trust me, I need to brag when I can)

We are not doing much today except cleaning...all the mess we haven't touched all week. The bathrooms are disgusting. We have this awful rusty water and it is really ticking me off with my new white tiled showers. the bathroom is less than three years old but it looks 20 years old with the tile. YUCK. Any good products out there? We do soften our water with rust salt.

Today is the first Notre Dame game...we will watch that. I don't think Andrew is going. He likes going but also likes watching the game in the comfort of his own home. I can't stand the crowds...but man, ND fans are loyal! Anyway, I hope the Irish kick some butt today. I said, no news is good news. That's what I keep praying for anyway.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

A good report....but.......

I am going to try to be detailed here because this post will be one that I will probably refer to as I continue this cancer journey. Especially if everything turns out okay.

Today I had a 6 month check up with Dr. Ansari, my oncologist. Everything was fine--I will say that so you don't worry as you read this--BUT, because of my annoying cough, he decided to do a chest x-ray. I will not know my results until tomorrow. that I got that out there you know my frame of mind. Feeling really good about the visit but worried about the chest ray results.

So I get there and I first have blood work. Easy. Then I ended up waiting quite awhile to see Dr. Ansari. While I was waiting for him in the patient room, I freaked myself out for a moment because the nurse had the computer screen turned on...I immediately thought he was going to show me something in my breast MRI, when actually, she was just typing in data. I didn't remember the computer screen thingy being in the other rooms I was in so my mind assumed I was in the "I have bad news" room. Silly.

So I waited some more. I could hear Dr. A with a patient next to me...I knew he was a new patient as I heard him make introductions. I figured the poor guy needed lots of time so I certainly wasn't upset or anything. Finally, Dr. A came in and said hello, and started reading my charts, etc. He ALWAYS stops at the letter from Dr. Wolf, my ENT at U of M, and makes mention of it. (Like it is the first time we have ever talked about the letter that is almost a year old). Anyway, then he finds my MRI report and says "normal" so that is good. Then he says he needs to examine me and "'when we are done we will talk." His exam was basically a pat down through my clothes and all over my neck and shoulders...I don't know what he was feeling for (I don't mean to suggest there was anything inappropriate about was just weird) When he was done, I asked him to double check my neck area and explained how bad it always hurt and he said anything that was hurting me was related to my schwannoma removal in 2001...I asked him if there was any research to show ACC breast metting (my shortened word for metasticizing) to neck and he said NONE. (which I have found as well but it was nice to hear it from him) He then said 'but we will do a PET/CT in 6 months, not for the cancer but because Dr. Wolf wants to see if the schwannoma has returned. So that was something I didn't expect him to say.

Then he sat back and said "so how are you doing?" I said "physically, I think I am doing well, but HOW IN THE HECK DO I DEAL WITH ALL THE WORRY OVER EVERY LITTLE SYMPTOM???? I explained how I thought I had liver cancer, (he smiled) how I thought my neck was filled with ACC, and now that I have had a minor cough for three weeks, i thought I had lung cancer. As soon as I mentioned that, he said "then we do a routine chest xray. that is easy" He knew I was very nervous about it but obviously, it is the thing to do since chest xrays are no big deal in terms of cost or radiation. He said " we do today. i will only call you if there is an issue. But you can call tomorrow if you want." (he knows me!) He then talked to me for about 15 minutes about how normal I am, that most of his patients feel good every week prior to visits with him except to the week just prior, and how good they feel when they leave him. (that is me to a T) He was very understanding and said that in time, it will get easier. I pointed out that my cancer comes back YEARS later and he said "do not confuse ACC/breast with ACC elsewhere. They are two different things. With ACC/breast you are "surgically cured" as you had clear margins" (that was nice to hear too, but i know better but will hang my hat on it after tomorrow's results!) I then told him I thought I should see him every 4 months and he smiled and said "you call me whenever you want, but I do not need to see you every 4 months. " He explained that it simply wasn't necessary and that it could cause me more anxiety than I already am having, He did say "I would never refuse to see you". I then said "well, it sounds like I am more worried than you are." And he said "I am not worried." So that was that.

I did have my chest xray right there...after it was done, the tech was calling the place I had my previous xray so i am guessing that that is routine, OR, he saw something, which easily could be that granuloma. That freaked me out a bit but I am just hopeful it was routine and that they just want to double check on the granuloma. It just has to be normal. Oh, by the way, after I told him that part of my problem with worry was not trusting him (as i don't see him very often) he said he would ALWAYS tell me the truth and never hides anything. I assumed that to be true but it was nice he verbalized it.

The other slightly interesting thing was that in March, I WILL have a bilateral mammogram. I didn't think they did that with implants but they do. So I have that a few days after my PET/CT, and then I will see him again somewhere around March 10. Gosh, it will be so nice to go through Christmas without doctor's appointments to worry about.

So as I type this, I feel like I have an elephant sitting on my chest. It could be worry, or my jalapeno peppers on my sandwich at lunch today...or maybe allergies. Or maybe a heart attack. Hopefully it will pass. I am still coughing but I can contribute it to post nasal certainly isn't awful...and normally, i wouldn't think anything of it....but,,,,,,,,,,,,

ANYWAY. That is my report. I walked into house today after school and literally tip-toed into the room where the answering machine one had called from his office so I feel good about today at least. I will probably die of a heart attack if they call tomorrow. ARGH. Can"t think about that now>

Josh is at the freshman game...Jim is coaching...Andrew went to dinner with the football team at Pete's Patio (YUM!) and I have made pork chops that are simmering with some red potatoes. Glad the rain is here finally...just hope it clears up for tomorrow night's game.

Pray for a clear chest xray for sure can't hurt can it???

MUCHO LOVE to you all!


Monday, September 1, 2008

Last day of summer

Hi there. It is Sunday night. I quickly posted some pictures from the weekend just to see if I could do it and I can. Weekend was fun, as always. Andrew lost his my Pollyanna attitude was glad 1) we scored (we didn't last year) and 2) no one got hurt. Andrew did fine...the whole team has many things to work on so maybe THIS Friday night will be the night to get our first victory. We play at Sturgis.

What a wonderful weatherwise weekend. Sunny and not too humid. Jim and I hung around at our campsite most of the time--took Shade on a few walks--she is sleeping and will probably sleep for weeks now. Camping wears her out. I think the kids had fun...they are both at the age where I don't worry too much about them when they are out wandering, but the Twin Mills Security people were out in masses which was new for Twin Mills.

Just a few photos from a great weekend. More later.