Archive for the 'Cancer Update' Category

April 21st 2009

Biopsy, Navelbine #6 and Transfusion

So my dermatology appointment went pretty quickly ending with a punch biopsy and the waiting game.  He said it would take about 7-10 days to find out the results.  He said he put a rush on it saying that patient’s treatment depends on the results.  So hopefully we’ll hear back sooner than 7-10 days.  I was so thankful to have Sunshine there with me as I was getting the biopsy.  She changed her schedule at the last minute so that I didn’t go alone.  It was a blessing.

After the appointment, I received a phone call from my doctor’s office saying that I would need another transfusion.  Just what I didn’t want to hear.  I was in a restaurant and didn’t want to cry.  When I don’t want to cry, the muscles in my abdomen tighten up and I am in a lot of pain.  That happened to me at that point.  I wanted to scream, and for some reason I couldn’t relax to stop the pain.  Sunshine was with me, she was very calm, and I finally relaxed.  

Heather went with me to chemo today.  We had planned on going to lunch, but spent most of that time before chemo at the hospital getting ready for the transfusion tomorrow.  We did go to lunch at this little Mexican place…my new favorite… and just decided that if I was late to chemo, so be it!  😉  We were only about 20 minutes late.  Yummy Fish Tacos!!!

At the doctor’s office, it is routine for them to check your vitals before chemo and sometimes they won’t treat you if things aren’t at the right levels.  My blood pressure – low, but that’s been pretty normal since starting chemo.  Then they took my temperature.  It was 102.2 degrees.  Ummmm, to me it would seem that’s a little too high.  I’ve been having fevers, but I don’t seem to have all the symptoms that usually come along with the fevers.  So I didn’t look sick but had a pretty high fever.  I think they normally wouldn’t do chemo, but my doctor said go ahead, so we did.  They also didn’t give me the anti-nausea injection that knocks me out, so I wasn’t totally out of it which was nice.  When I was done, my fever was down to a low 101.9.  Not down too much at all, eh?   We decided to leave the port connected so that they don’t have to do it tomorrow at “My Favorite” hospital.  

I’ll write more after tomorrow.  

Some fun things we’ve done in the past week are go to a 90th birthday party (cowboy theme), Sol got his latest CD mastered (really a big deal), and we went whale watching (didn’t see anything worth writing home about).  We’ve been talking about doing things we’ve never done but always wanted to do.  Whale watching was on my list!  (I’ll post some fun pictures of these things soon)

Today was really busy.  Tomorrow will be full, but I won’t be going anywhere except the hospital.  There is no one who can stay with me the whole day, so people are coming in shifts starting at 7:45 when Gwynne will pick me up and take me there.  🙂  I have such great friends around me.  

Well, I need to get to bed, it’s going to be an early morning tomorrow.  Sol has to be at work at 6:00 and I have to h=leave for the hospital at 7:45 – early for me these days!  🙂  

Love you,


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April 15th 2009

Navelbine #5 and No Transfusion

Last Tuesday, I was sitting on the couch before chemo when the doctor’s office called and told me I needed a transfusion, so when the phone rang yesterday morning, my heart skipped a beat.  I was relieved to hear that I wasn’t being scheduled for another transfusion, but for some reason the transfusions, the shots, and the extra iron pills aren’t raising my red blood count to normal levels.  I don’t know how much these things are supposed to raise the level, but I do know that the normal range is 11-14, and I was a 7 before the transfusion last week and only 8.4 this week.  They told me that they’d be drawing more blood before chemo to run some other tests on it to see what else might be keeping my levels from raising.  

This was one of the quickest treatments ever.  It took just under an hour, but still knocked me out!  I slept the majority of the afternoon and evening, which affected my sleeping last night.   I was up every 2 hours just laying there awake… (Sol been having a tough time sleeping last few night as well).

Other than that, things here are going pretty well.  We had a wonderful Easter with family.  Kai began getting baskets on Thursday and received one every day up to Easter.  He LOVED it!  Now there is way too much candy around our house.  I have been throwing it away – yes, tossing it.  Boy does it take self-will not to eat it or stash it away for a rainy day (honestly, I’ve been eating it so it needs to go!!!).  Here are a few pictures from decorating eggs and Easter Sunday.

Decorating Eggs-01 Decorating Eggs-02   

Decorating eggs with Watercolor – you could rinse the egg off and decorate it again and again!!!  🙂


Easter Loot-02 Easter Loot-01

The Loot!!!

Family Easter Egg Hunters

The Egg Hunters

Lady Bug-01 Lady Bug-03 Lady Bug-02

A Lady Bug Friend.  Kai loved having the ladybug crawl all over his arm.


We love you all and hope this finds you well.  Happy Easter – Christ has Risen – Death has no Victory!  Alleluia!!!

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April 7th 2009

Pre-chemo news…

I just received a phone call saying that I will be having a blood transfusion.  I guess that means my count is still low and that it maybe even went down a bit from last week.  They wanted me to do it right after chemo today, but that’s just too much!  So tomorrow morning around 8:30 I will report to the Short Stay floor at my “favorite” hospital for my second transfusion – two more units.  Please pray that the experience will be much better than last time.  I am scared to have them access my port at all, so I am going to see if I can stop by my chemo office and have them stick me instead.  Thank you for your prayers.  If I feel up to it and am not knocked out tonight, I’ll let you know how Navelbine #4 went.

 Thank you to all of you who donate blood – you are saving lives and helping people like me get and feel better.

Much Love,


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March 24th 2009

Kai’s home, Disneyland, Navelbine #3

Picking up Kai was so fun.  As soon as he saw us, he ran to give us hugs. It was Awesome!  He had so much to tell us about his time with my folks and the airplane ride.  He looked so much bigger; I think they always do when they’re gone for a little while and you see them again.

Yesterday we took my mom to Disneyland.  She hadn’t been in over 23 years, so there was a lot to see.  Kai had been wanting to go to Disneyland for a while, so he was so excited to go.  He was running circles in the living room saying, “Disneyland, Disneyland, Disneyland!” over and over.  We were able to do a lot, but it turned out to be too much for me, and by the end of the day, I was in a wheelchair just so I could stay.  I just got too worn out – too much walking, and it was a crowded day, so we stood in a lot of lines.  I did sit down for a little bit, while my mother took Kai on a ride.  Sol was able to meet us around 5:00 pm, and we had fun.  I am a bit sad that my mom didn’t get to ride “Soaring over California”.  I think it’s one of the most unique rides they have, and she really would have enjoyed it.  We were in line with a 45 minute wait, then they came on and said they were having technical difficulty, it would another 15 minutes on top of the wait time.  It was late and cold, and I started feeling really bad, so we decided it was time to go home.  Someday she’ll go on it.  

Today was my third treatment of Navelbine.  It went smoothly and didn’t knock me out as much, but it did knock me out for a while.  I think the excitement of going to D.C. is helping to wake me up.  My mom and I leave tomorrow morning to go see my sister and her husband in D.C. and stay until Tuesday.  The weather is supposed to be rainy or chances of rain the whole time we’re there.  We’ll see what happens.  Maybe it’s God’s way of saying, “Slow down, Monica”. 

Pray for Sol as he’s home with Kai alone, and we’re getting glimpses of the terrible twos.  He’s a good boy most of the time, but there are those precious moments we’d love to forget and someday will – I hope!  

Thank you for your prayers.  My red count is still low, but another transfusion wasn’t mentioned for this time – maybe next time but not yet.  🙂

I’ll post from D.C. and hopefully Sol will too to let you know what’s going on with us.

Love and blessings,


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March 18th 2009

Navelbine #2, Friends, thank you and more…

So it’s been a while and many things have happened.  Many of you know how excited I was to have my friends coming to visit.  It did not disappoint.  I had a great weekend, feeling great, hanging out, catching up, praying, and eating a lot of food!  Oh, how wonderful it was to have them here – close by to hug me and serve me for the weekend.  It’s been hard on them to not be close by.  So I know for them to be able to clean my house, make me food and just take care of me meant a lot.  They were DOING something!  I know for many of you, you feel the same way!  What can we do so far away?  Pray, pray, pray!  🙂  

Friends Visiting  

Well, something we decided last minute to do was to send Kai to Paradise for a week.  He flew on an airplane with my cousin, Rachyl, and loved every minute of the flight!  He LOVES airplanes!  We woke him up on Friday morning and told him we were going on an airplane and he was wide awake in seconds!  🙂  He’s such a good boy.  He’s been having fun at Grammy and Grandpa’s house.  He got to hold and feed chickens and cleaned turtles at Auntie Janelle’s house!  He’s played with Skippy (my parent’s dog) wanting to carry him around the house, much to Skippy’s disapproval!  Boy do we miss this kiddo!  He’s coming home on Sunday with my mom.  Yes, on another airplane!!!  He’ll be so excited!  🙂

5 Raspberries - 01   

On Monday night a few couples from church came over and anointed my head with oil and prayed for Sol and I.  It was a very special time and meant a lot to us!  We feel so blessed to have people in our lives who will take the time out and just cover us in prayer!  

Something else amazing is that we have been made into a serve project through our church.  Project #129 (I think).  Anyway, it’s just people from the church signing up to pray for us on certain days of the week, write a note of encouragement, or donate money to help us cover the costs that are heading our way with insurance and whatever else there is.  I have loved reading every single note and seeing the list of people praying for me every single day!  It’s unbelievable.  The amount of money that has been donated is simply astounding!  I am blown away and in awe of God’s people!  People have been giving through the website, the mail, church drop box or other means.  It’s simply amazing!  I wish I could thank all of you personally, but I don’t have that much time, and I don’t know who gave cash!  So here is my thank you!  You are all so dear and precious.  Words cannot express the deep, heartfelt thanks that Sol and I have for you all!  Thank you!

Wow, wow, wow!  That’s all I have to say about this next piece of news.  My mom and I received free tickets to go see my sister in Washington D.C..  How amazing is that!!!!  Sol’s mom was able to get ahold of some frequent flier miles and get us tickets (Thanks, Harold)!  Unbelievable!  Thank you so much!  Blessings are coming from all sides!  God is good!  

Tuesday, I had my 2nd Navelbine chemo.  It was strange in that I was pretty knocked out by the anti-nausea drug.  My friend, Keri, said that my eyes glazed over and I was out of it.  I ended up sleeping the whole afternoon and evening away!  That really hasn’t happened to me before!  Keri thought she’d have to drag me up the stairs to my apartment!  Good thing she didn’t have to!  

So I think I’ve caught you up on the happenings here!  Sorry it took so long.  

Peace and Blessings to you this week…

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March 9th 2009

New Chemo – Navelbine #1

Well, at 2:00 today I had my first Navelbine treatment.  It went smoothly.  I thought it was only going to take 1/2 hour, but it took 1 1/2 hours.  Heather, a new dear friend, took me to lunch before the treatment, to the treatment and then to Target after the treatment!  Not too much to report, which is good I guess.  Usually the side-effects, if there will be any, come in the two days after treatment.  They also gave me another procrit – red blood cell booster – shot today.  Long and painful!

I am getting really excited about this weekend.  Some of my friends from college are going to be coming out here.  It all started when my friend, Susanne, in Wisconsin said she was going to come out and see me.  Her flight gets in on Thursday morning.  Then Debbie, who lives in San Diego, is going to come on Friday after work.  Susan, from Sanger, and Bethany, from Nevada, are coming Friday night as well.  It will 5 of 10 of our group of friends from college.  It will be nice, too, because Susanne wasn’t able to make it to the October reunion.  I think Sol and Kai will be elsewhere Saturday evening, so we’ll have a true girls night – if I don’t fall asleep!  🙂  

So that’s about it.  Nothing to crazy to report – thank God!

We’ll keep you updated.  Next chemo is Tuesday at 2:15.



March 5th 2009

Dr. Appointment Notes…

The first thing that they said was that I am severely anemic and will need to have a blood transfusion tomorrow.  So even though I was having the shots, my red blood cell numbers went down.  I started crying.  I’ve never had a transfusion before and got very scared.  I think it’s really strange to have someone else’s blood pumped into my body.  I know it happens everyday, but it is still scary!  They are still going to give me the shots, but they raised the dose.

Then they talked about what’s next.  Sol had done some research (my wonderful husband) and found this drug (can’t remember the name) that showed promise in a few cases of angiosarcoma patients.  Not all, but I guess it’s worth a shot if it helped in a few.  It seems like every angiosarcoma patient is different and this disease behaves differently in each person who has it.  After looking at the research that Sol brought in, and staying late at the office last night researching what do to next, the doctor decided that because the side-effects were easier with the one Sol brought information in for, that we would start with that on Monday.  I will go once a week for three weeks, then have a week off.  If my blood count isn’t handling it, then I will go two weeks on and one week off.  I guess we’ll see.

I really want to get out to Washington D.C. to see my older sister, Karen, sometime this month or the beginning of next, but I don’t know how that’s going to work out now.  Please pray that it will still happen!  I have been wanting to do this for months…

So tomorrow is a long day.  I go to the hospital around 8:00 am and am there for 6 hours as they put 2 units of blood into my body.  I don’t know if they’ll be able to use the port…I hope so, but I don’t know.  They drew blood from my arm today in order to match the right blood to me, so that it’s ready when I get there in the morning.  

I will probably be sleeping most of the time, but Martha will be there with me.  I’m scared, but know that this is one more step on the way to recovery!  Fight, fight, fight!  I think I need a fight song like the Universities!  😉

Blessings and Peace,


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March 4th 2009

CT Scan Results

Well I hate to update you with bad news!  The Ct Scan showed that there are multiple new tumors in both lungs and my liver.  The tumors that were already there have all grown, and there are new growths on my spine again.

We have an appointment tomorrow at 10:15 to talk to the doctor about what’s next, if there is anything.  

We are all tears over here as we try to wrap our minds around what this means.  I am thankful that Martha is here to take care of Kai in this time.

We love you all and will post after tomorrow’s appointment.




March 2nd 2009

Surprisingly A Good Day!

Thank you so much for all of your thoughts and prayers for today.  After going to bed terrified of what today held, I woke up and felt peace and hope.  Today I felt “normal” for the first time in months!  What’s “normal”?  Who really knows?  I didn’t have pain at all; the only yucky thing was the nasty stuff I had to drink for the CT scan.  I hate that stuff!  I was able to move around the house like I used to.  I was able to lay down and get up without pain.  The only thing is that I don’t have very much energy or strength.  I can’t lift things I think I can, and I run out of breath very quickly.  I think it’s time to start walking a little bit everyday.  Time to build it all back up and feel like me again!

The CT scan itself went smoothly.  They used the port and I was in and out.  Then since I hadn’t eaten since 11 and it was 4, I went to Carl’s Jr. – my favorite place – I know, not on the diet!  But it was good for my spirit!  

I really can’t believe how good today was even though it was CT scan day!  I am in awe and so thankful for all the answered prayers today.  For the peace I felt and the hope that was in my heart.  It was so nice to just feel good!  Now we just wait for the results. (Wed or Thurs)

I’ll let you know when I hear anything about the scan.  

Goodnight and peace to you!


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February 22nd 2009

Bed and Morphine…

Friday was an eventful day.  Finally our bed was delivered!  We have had two nights of amazing sleep!  I can’t tell you the difference this bed has made!  

On Friday, my family arrived about 2 o’clock.  I was in so much pain that I called the doctor and after discussing it, they decided to put me on a slow release morphine pill with the option of taking codeine for breakthrough pain.  I think it is helping.  

It has been nice having my family here.  Yesterday, my parents went and picked up my grandma.  It was good to spend time with her and have her here visiting.  

We also really appreciate all of the dinners that people are bringing!  It has been an amazing blessing!  Thank you so much!

Well it’s late and I think I hear my bed calling!!!  I think it’s always calling.  Today I took a nap and woke up at 6.  I thought it was am not pm.  I was so confused and couldn’t figure out why everyone was already up. It took a few seconds to realize it was 6 pm.  Now that’s some good sleep!  

God Bless,



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