Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday

Today I had a follow up visit with the cardiology department from St Luke's, actually I saw the nurse practitioner. She was happy with my blood work, it had improved since my release from the hospital. Christina explained the meds I didn't completely understand and increased one. They plan to do another ECHO in 3 months to see if my heart has improved, it does in 85%  of patients......let's hope I am in that group. If that doesn't work we'll talk about a defibrillator or pacemaker. I have an appointment in 3 weeks to see the doctor. 
She also told me it was OK to cheat and eat Thanksgiving dinner. I was soooo happy! I am not going to go overboard or add salt to anything. My appetite has been smaller the past few months, so hopefully I won't eat like a pig.
Last night we got about 3" of snow. The roads were cleared by the time we left. It was really a pretty drive, for the  most part the sun was shining. The trees were covered with a layer of snow.....so beautiful. This is not my picture, I did not have my camera.



Wanna hear somethin' funny?
Kev and I do not share the same taste in music. I would have preferred to listen to my talk show on the radio (on the way to Milwaukee) but he likes country music......in our family the diver chooses the radio station. As the station faded Kev searched for something else......we listened to Christmas songs part of the way there and all the way home. It was kinda neat.
Before we came home we stopped at my former employer to pick up a gift certificate from them for Thanksgiving. I haven't talked to them in a long time so I explained my situation to them. We came home and I found some leftovers to eat! Hash brown squares are not that good w/o salt.....not much is. 

Time for me to read YOUR blogs! Thanks for stopping by and I appreciate ALL comments.

Monday, November 24, 2014

All Caught Up

I was blessed with visitors on saturday, Sunday, and Monday. If you're feeling 1/2 decent a stay in the hospital is pretty boring. I don't watch daytime TV, the computer bored me, and I didn't feel like reading. There were no more tests, just a lot of pokes to check my blood. Once I reached my goal weight and it was deemed the water pills were working the Dr gave me the OK to go home on Wednesday afternoon. Of course, I had to prove that I could take care of myself (for the most part) at home.....including walking up and down stairs. It is wonderful to be able to walk up or down the steps and not be totally out of breath. This afternoon I went into the basement to get something and walked back up again. Yes, I walk slowly and still get tired but I am so much better. 
We're living pretty quiet here.
Kevin is taking good care of me.
Sunday my son and his family came to visit. I want to be honest about my condition but at the same time don't want people to think I am looking for sympathy. Later in the afternoon our grandson came over to see how I was doing. We took him grocery shopping with us......he's learning about serving sizes and sodium. He's 9 and was a big help to us. Walking through the store tired me out so Kev got the car and I waited there while they checked out. 
Today I just needed to have my blood checked for clotting time so my bff took me. I also talked to my oncologist, he's still trying to figure out how I can have my surgery......while awake w/o a general anesthetic????? hmmmm
This afternoon I was hungry for anything that had a lot of sodium in it. Kev ate his leftover ham steak.....I was tempted to grab it off his plate......but I knew I'd only be hurting myself and I was having such a good day. I attempted to make potato soup..........YUK!!! Low sodium broth is going on my shopping list.... I don't want to....but I have to use it.
I felt really good this afternoon: I cooked for the first time in over a month, I washed all of the dishes,  and made 3 Christmas cards. I haven't felt this good in weeks! I am almost afraid to go to bed and get up tomorrow.....how will I feel? My weight was down this morning, always a good thing.
Tomorrow afternoon I have a follow up visit at St Luke's. A snowstorm is on the way, I hope it's over and the roads are clear by the time we leave. I think that is all I have on my calender for the week.
Ooooops!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

  • take your own bathrobe and personal care items for your hospital stay
  • don't forget cell phone charger, etc

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trying to Catch Up - part 2

About 3PM I got settled into my room and was given IV lasix......it worked :-) I was hungry so they gave me a sandwich. Supper was about 6:30 so everything worked out fine. Kev stuck around so he could hear what the Dr had to say, we really didn't know what was going on with me. We found out that I have severe congestive heart failure and my heart is pumping at 19%, it had been at 33%. When an Echo was done before the Herceptin was given I was at 55%........anything over 50% is the infraction rate they want to see. Now we are trying to get it up to 35% with drugs. We are hoping to be able to strengthen the muscle and that too much hasn't died, otherwise mechanical devices will be discussed. One year ago I was stressing about Thanksgiving and today I just want to be alive. You never know what is going to come your way.
You may be wondering what caused these heart problems...........two of my chemo drugs.....
doxorubicin (Adriamycin) & trastuzumab (Herceptin)
and of course the latter one I still need to be on and that one is said to be a Godsend for my her2+ cancer. I feel like I am dammed if I do and dammed if I don't. This does happen to people but not on the scale which it has hit me.
Right now my cancer surgery is on hold.
Everything was going so smoothly.......blood work was great. Then WHAM!!! it seemed like if something unusual was going to happen it would happen to me: heart failure, pink eye, blood clots,  rashes, cyst pops up.
Friday I had a chest x-ray and MRI. The MRI was hard b/c I had to hold my breath. I was gone from my room for over 2 hours. My Dr was looking at the 'pictures' as they were being taken so he'd be sure he got what he wanted. Yes, he told me that he and my original Dr were very concerned about me. Fortunately I did not need any invasive tests done and the rest of my stay was rather boring. I will finish up tomorrow.

  • I am blessed with so many good friends and family members!!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trying To Catch Up - part 1

I am sorry I haven't posted, some of you are aware of what's been going on via Nana Diana or Deb. I was in St Lukes hospital in Milwaukee (cardiology and heart surgery) for nearly a week and came home Wednesday evening. I DID NOT HAVE SURGERY, that is just the type of hospital it is.

I had been so tired out and terribly out of breath and gained weight, even though I wasn't eating a lot. I didn't go anywhere, except for doctor appointments that friends would take me to. I was always in a wheel chair at my appointments. I could barely walk around in my own house. Getting dressed was a chore.
Nov 12 I had another ECHO.
I had been retaining water and the lasix was NOT helping. I told my cardiologist this and he doubled the dose, checked my blood-work and then changed it back. I was not feeling any better.......I know my body. I googled my situation and learned that intravenous would be the way to go. Another friend, an MA for 1 year, also mentioned IV administration of lasix. I should have asked my Dr about it. This went on for 3 weeks. I actually wanted to be admitted to the hospital. On many occasions my lips were blue and the Dr did not seem to care. 
Thursday, Nov 13, I was told to go to the hospital b/c the ECHO showed that my heart function had declined, kind of scary. I called Kev and work and he came home and we left for the nearly 2 drive to Milwaukee. I was relieved to be settled into the hospital.

  • You are your best advocate - speak up for yourself.
  • Pay attention to your body.
  • Know your numbers: BP. weight, pulse, temp, whatever they take, and note any changes.
I'll be back in a day or 2 with more.





Friday, November 7, 2014

This And That, Ups And Downs

Keepin' it real folks.......no, I didn't fall off a ladder, but that would probably be an easier route. 
November blew in with cold winds and rain. Northern WI has snow and it's predicted for our area several days from now. It's too early for winter!!!!  It helps that my DR told me to elevate my leg and use a heating pad.
Today was a down day for me......lack of sleep? .....new complications?.....my stamina is wearing down. I wanted to break down and cry, but didn't.....but I felt down. I have a lot of moles on my body and one on my side is hurting (that's new). But.......it looks like a cyst or mole has appeared under the skin. ***sigh*** what next??? Please, no more new, weird side effects!!! About a month ago I noticed a lump on the edge of my breast/chest. I showed it to 2 of my DRs and they didn't think anything of it. That one doesn't hurt though.
I am just getting rid of pink eye.
I am happy to report that my clotting time is right where the DR wants it to be.
My face, abdomen, leg, and foot are still swollen.
I still can not do anything without huffing and puffing.
I have a cold or sinus drainage and coughing keeps me up at night. 
The DR thinks I am improving, but I do not see it. 
He did compliment me on keeping up my good attitude.
I know a lot of people are praying for me....but sometimes I forget that God's timing is not mine....I am so impatient, and I am not a good patient.

I continue to be blessed with friends who take me to DR appointments, who send cards and letters encouraging me, and yesterday I received a package from another blogger. Oh, such wonderful people love me :-)

It was so windy yesterday that when my friend brought me home from my DR appointment my favorite hat blew away. Darn!!! It blew off earlier in the day, but I caught it that time.
Hubby has been a big help, but I feel so guilty not doing a thing. I AM going to put my clothing away.....I AM!

Next week I am having another ECHO on heart and I see the cardiologist a few days after that. The way things are going my surgery could very possibly  be in Dec. What will be will be......but why is God changing this? Is there more here than we know about now?

Thanks for visiting and your comments. Sorry I haven't been reading your blogs.




Monday, November 3, 2014

Letting Go

OK,  I am going to admit it...
I am a control freak.
Yes,
I like to be in charge and like things done my way.
But,
I can't be in control anymore.....
it just dawned on me.
Guess I can be kinda slow sometimes.
Winter is on the way and it's time to rake and clean up my plants. I always bring some inside and the remainder get dumped in my compost pile. I wash out the pots and put them away for next year. There is always some 'artistic junque' I want to save. Not this year, all the cleaning up was left up to Kevin and I will just have to let it go and go with the flow in the spring. After all it's just 'stuff'.....spring will be a new start.
I allowed my SIL to do our laundry.....that was difficult also. We all have our own way of taking care of our clothes, mine are clean so I'm happy....who cares HOW they are folded or if they are not hung up. Now Kev does the laundry, he doesn't do it the same way I do either....but we have clean clothes. Today I could not find the sweatshirt that goes with my pants....someday it will show up.....I hope. 
I am SLOWLY learning to let go and let God.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding Proverbs 3:5 NIV

Today I had a protime for my blood thinner.....results were good. No more Lovenex shots in my stomach. I saw the dr for my red, teary, crusty, sore eyes. When I woke up they were crusted shut and so sore. DR gave me drops and after 1 drop I feel better. The cardiologist doesn't want to change anything and mess up my electrolytes so things will stay the same. He says I am slowly improving so I'll trust him. 

I am not in control of any of this. I need to remember to trust in the Lord. 
I thank everyone for your prayers!!!


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween Photos

Three of my grandsons: the zombie, mad scientist, and paw patrol.
The mad scientist spent the night and is here again on saturday night.



'Anna', my youngest granddaughter. Isn't she cute?


This is my oldest granddaughter (almost 14) dressed up for her dance.

One more 'dead' grandson.

Yesterday it was soooo windy and cold here. We were surprised to see as many trick or treaters out as we did. Hubby gives out good candy, miniature candy bars and big bars to the grands.

We had a nice visit with my sister and her boyfriend today. We don't see much of each other, she has disabilities and lives further away so Jack has to drive her when he's off. He drives a lot for work so does not look forward to driving on his day off.

Ever since he found out that his sister did our laundry he had been much more helpful around here. He's been doing all of the dishes, put laundry away, and washed some clothes today. I feel guilty but when I feel better I'll be back at it.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Thoughts That Bounce Around In My Head In The Wee Hours Of The Morning

Since I have a really weird sleep pattern lately I'm awake from about 1:30 AM - 4, 5, or 6 and lots of thoughts run rampantly through my mind.

1. You  might be trying to kill me, but we're onto you and are one step ahead. Last Thursday I saw the cardiologist and he gave me a water pill and another diuretic. They didn't seem to be working so I called on Monday and they finally got back to me after 5. By that time I noticed some numbness on the top of my right foot. Tuesday morning I went in for an ultrasound of the veins in my legs. The technician found blood clots in my left leg. I was sent home with warfarin and enoxaparin (an injection in the stomach). Give myself a shot???? I don't think so! Fortunately I have a friend who is a retired nurse who comes over every day to do it for me. Thank you Carla!!!

2. I've had to let people do things for me this past week, I just could not do it myself. I even left my SIL take our laundry home and do it. She also made a big dish of chicken dumpling soup, it looks soooo good........but it's low sodium. No offence Kitty, but low sodium sucks, I guess it is something I will have to get use to. 

3. Yesterday I went back to the cardiologist and remembered to ask him some questions. He said my heart is improving and after reviewing my blood work he adjusted my meds. My weight was down the past 2 days but is up again today. I weigh myself every day (checking for water loss).

4. Will these blood clots be the last road block before my surgery? Things were going so well......then.... Is my tumor growing again? What is going to happen when I go  back on the Herceptin?

5. I can't wait until I can walk up the stairs again with out falling down on the bed immediately. I am so tired of being tired. I guess it will come...............I can't wait until I can sleep at night and stay awake during the day. What's wrong with me that I am not smiling like the women I see on facebook??? Why am I just a lazy, sad, tired old lady?

Guess I'll just lay around now and watch some TV.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Truth Be Told

Last week was full of appointments.
On Thursday I had 2 doctor appointments, piece of cake, eh?
The day started out with a misunderstanding on facebook. You'd think I'd know better!
Then it's off to my dr appointments. I made sure I arrived early enough to be on time, I need extra time b/c I need to rest. It's really hard for me to walk from the car to the building, but I make it and plop down on a bench so I can catch my breath. After a bit I walk into the hall and look for a wheel chair. There aren't any! Oh No! I have to walk down a 10 mile (it might as well be) hallway to get a chair. After a couple of stops to lean against the wall I spot a friend walking toward the elevator. I finally get her attention and ask if she's get me a wheelchair....I am almost in tears. By the time she gets back to me I am in tears. I am sure she has never seen me like that, but I just couldn't help it. So here is my Red Hat friend, who is on her way to get her stitches out, pushing me in a wheel chair. We were both going to the same place so we had a chance to visit too. 
The nurse weighed me and I gained more weight. Then I saw the cardiologist. He tells me my heart is pumping at 33% and my mouth drops open. I don't have any idea of what it should be, I'll ask when I see him this week. I have congestive heart disease. Sounds pretty scary to me! Therefore my surgery is postponed. Three upsetting things in my day so far.....and I am very weak. The busy week tired me out. After that appointment one of the nurses wheeled me to my next one.
When I got home I had to call Kev at work to tell him not to take off work this week. I must have sounded teary b/c he asked if I was OK and said he'd be home soon. ....unusual conversation for us.
Before he left for bowling he came up behind me and gave me a genuine hug, told me he loved me and said it will get better. It's a side of him I don't see. I am not a crier and he thinks tears are just a ploy for attention. Not on Thursday they weren't. I think I talked to my girlfriend that day too and cried on her shoulder. It was a bad day!



The cardiologist gave me a prescription for Lasix  and another pill to go with it. Everyone is telling me I'll be in the bathroom every 5 minutes, but I am not. I am trying to drink but am perpetually nauseous and don't like eating or drinking so I am not drinking 2 quarts. Of course I am craving pickles now....too salty for me. I have some questions for him and my next appointment isn't until Thursday so I am going to call him tomorrow.




I know it has only been 6 months and some people deal with cancer for years.............but this is getting to be so draining on my body and spirit. How do they do it???
I have noticed, when I am in bed, trying to sleep and listening to myself breath, that my heart is not beating so hard or racing. Since the doctor changed my blood pressure meds my cough is better, it should go away.
If you know me you know I don't feel well b/c I have no desire to stop at the thrift or craft store. I don't even want to leave the house. I don't want to do anything. I'd prefer to sleep, but I just nap in the afternoon. Four weeks out of chemo and my eyes water constantly and my nose drips all the time.  From what I understand that could LAST a long time.
I am hoping by the end of the week to feel a teeny tiny bit better.....to just be able to walk to my car without huffing and puffing. .....to be able to wash the dishes without taking 3 breaks....to reach into the washer to get the laundry out of it.

Thanks for listening to me whine.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My Week So Far

Saturday I invited my step-daughter and step-son and their families for dinner. Mistake? I had been feeling pretty tired of late. Too late, the day must go on. saturday morning Kev was up early and did some cleaning and I completed my grocery shopping in slow motion. Jessica, Chuck, and Kev helped get my simple meal cooked and on the table.  SS and his 3 boys did not show up but 2 other friends did. We had a nice visit and I felt good that day. Michele helped me clean up afterward. I could not have done even a simple dinner without everyone's help.
one of the kids usually pulls out Twister
Sunday I did not feel so good and almost feel asleep right before I had to pick J up from Sunday school. 
Monday I had a doctor appointment,chemical stress test and another test that I can't think of now. I spent most of the day at the hospital so when I got home it was time for a nap. Whatever they injected me with made me so nauseous that I got up twice during the night to take my anti-nausea pills.
Tuesday I had more tests, one was done right away....the other.....was over booked and I waited for over an hour. A LONG time when you don't feel good. Since I can not walk very far I've had to ask for a wheel chair, if you know me you know that I do not like asking people to do things for me. I also met with the radiology oncologist. After another LONG day at the hospital I came home and took a nap. 
Today I had a breathing test. I'm breathing, does that mean I passed??? At one point I coughed and that stopped the test. The technician gave me an albuterol inhaler and I did that part over. The inhaler did make me feel better for a while. I do have some housework to do today......before nap-time? or after?
Tomorrow I have 2 doctor appointments. I can't wait to see what the cardiologist has to say about my heart and to find out if it is safe to have surgery on Monday.
I also can't wait until I have more to write about other than doctors and such stuff. 

Friday, October 17, 2014

Doctors, Nurses, and Tests, Oh My!

Well, I said I was worried...........
I have started a round of doctor visits and tests. Yesterday morning I took my SS to the dentist, in the afternoon I had a dr appointment (with more blood-work), and after dinner I had a CT scan. Have you ever had one of those? It's quick and easy, dye is injected into a vein.....but......it has a warm feeling and you feel like you peed your pants. The dr asked me to wait for the results (she was looking for a blood clot). I waited over an hour. They had a really busy day and were working late. Sadly, because of that, I had to back out of a school function that I promised my grandsons I'd attend. The scan showed fluid around my heart so we have a new concern. It was most likely caused by the Herceptin. 
Thank goodness I have good veins....I got needle pokes in both arms.
The only good news I can think of is that I will not have a Herceptin treatment on Monday.....or is that good news? I'll have more blood work and see my oncologist Monday. I have a lot of questions for him. Later I'll have a stress test. Since I am unable to walk on the treadmill it will be chemical test.  I can't wait. NOT!!!
Tuesday I'll have an ECHO and a resting scan of my heart. I also have an appt with the radiologist. 
Wednesday I have a breathing test scheduled.
Thursday I see the cardiologist. 
Will I be able to do nothing on friday???? Let's hope so!!!
Thanks for letting me cry on your shoulder. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Art Of Tablesetting

Once again I made my annual trek to see the table settings at the Rahr West Museum. There is always quite a variety of displays. 

the one above is ORB, the 2013 winner of the Kentucky Derby.


Japanese dining for all ages depicts several different styles of Japanese dining.

Angels among us.....hope the feather don't get in MY food.


Nutcracker Memories. This mom took her 4 year old daughter to see the Nutcracker for the first time and it has been a tradition ever since.
The Sound of Music

This display is inspired by her son's leukemia diagnoses. Around the edge of the table you see the different colored cancer pins. I am sure you're asking "what is that orange person?" She is Zach's superhero, she's born from a friend of Zach at Halloween and she goes to all of the Zeal (Zach's effort against leukemia) events. I think ZEALIA is awesome!
Winter friends
Dinner with Dracula
Look under the table - you'll see some rats.....eeewww
Glamping
I just love the one........so warm.......I want to go to Italy and eat here.
Playtime tea party
Manitowoc and Kamogawa (Japan) are sister cities and this is a collaboration between them.



Such a pretty spring time table
Legacies of our grandmothers
Heirloom items made by the grandmothers
A beautiful, simple, traditional table setting. 
Thanks for taking the time to visit.
I have to admit to being a bit disappointed this year, there were several open spots and nothing really wowed me. Guess I shouldn't complain - I certainly don't have the imagination to make at table setting. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

It's Always Something

I had a different post in mind for today but a phone call I received this morning changed my mind. My surgeon's nurse called this morning to give me the results of my EKG. I have an irregular heartbeat, I knew that but my on oncologist wasn't concerned so neither was I. Last week I took my BP on one of those machines at the drug store and my pulse was 103. I don't really feel my heart racing....maybe I don't want to? I do know that I get out of breath very easily....I am even more out of shape than normal. Now I am afraid to even start walking.

But that's not all folks.....I have an enlarged heart too. Now you might understand why I had another crying spell this morning. The nurse who called me didn't seem too concerned, but that's her job. I am seeing my regular Dr to get a release for surgery, so maybe it is nothing to worry about. In my weakened state I just can't help but to worry. I wasn't referred to a cardiologist .....so I guess that's good.

This is the 2nd serious health issue I've had. When I was in my 30's I was involved in an auto accident and broke my femur. Somehow I ended up with a blood clot and in ICU taking morphine. I was hospitalized for 5 weeks. This is no lie: the nurses at the hospital I was in told my mother that often red heads can be/have unusual things happen. They kind of equated red heads with a full moon......you never know what's going to happen. Is that what's going to happen now?

I guess I better get my questions in order.
Thanks for your support!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Just Thinkin'

Today, as I was waiting for my car, I was thinking. That's about all my body is capable of lately. We'll get to that in a minute.


Autumn is a beautiful time of year to go for a drive in WI.

God gives us all this beauty to distract us from the cold, harsh winter that is coming. 

It's even more beautiful if you drive past the lake (Lake Michigan).



I've come to realize that people with chronic pain do not walk around with a smile on their faces. They just do not have the energy to do so. I am not in pain but I feel sick to my stomach all of the time, it lessens, but  it is there. So I walk around with my lips pursed, teeth clenched, and I am not smiling either. I see sad when I look in the mirror but maybe others see crabby.
I remember when I sold Avon (didn't everyone?) that we were told (when making calls) that people on the other end of the telephone can hear your smile. I believe it! I tried to smile when I answered the phone at work. My co-worker was told that she sounded cranky on the telephone, I don't think she was, but she sounded that way. I don't think she smiled when she said "hello". I wonder if I sound differently now.......probably.......sorry.
I just don't have the energy any more.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

A Week Full of Plan 'B's

It seems like nothing I had planned this week went the way I planned it. Nothing really bad happened, just not what I thought would. The chemo is wearing me down and I am not popping back up as quickly as I had been. I haven't read or commented on your blogs. My emotions are all over the place too.
I continue to be very tired, last week I ran with it. This week I have appointments. Sometimes I have to force myself to get out and then I feel better.......still tired, but I have to get out of the house!
My girlfriend  brought me lunch on Sunday and we had a nice visit, so why was I so sad and did I cry when I went to bed?
On two different days I took my SS to the clinic. One afternoon SS and I took his son to the park.....we walked along the beach and on the way back we walked up an incline and I didn't know if I was going to make it. I am so out of shape and worry about my heart. Herceptin is not easy on one's heart. I know they monitor my heart but I still worry.
One morning another friend came over for coffee, so my plans to do some housework were foiled. 
Today Kev and I went to talk to the surgeon and schedule my surgery.We were disappointed to see that the lump had only shrunk 25%. I am having a partial mastectomy (lumpectomy) on the 27th. He doesn't know how many lymph node(s) will be removed. Before the surgery they'll inject radioactive material into my breast and then watch which lymph nodes it travels into. I thought today would just be a short appointment, I was wrong. The fall colors were beautiful on the way to the surgeons office so I enjoyed the sights. We talked, he examined me, and I had and EKG, chest x-ray, and some lab work done. He also set up an appointment with the radiology Dr. After all the discussion about the surgery I am getting worried and scared. I started to cry when the nurse hugged me, I cried when I laid down this afternoon for a nap. No sobbing, no bawling.....just the tears rolling down my face. I really haven't done any crying since this whole thing started. Crying is not my thing.
I wonder if the chemo will be the worst part for me?
I have seen other breast cancer survivors and they seem healthy and happy.....but that is only what I see on the outside.

Tomorrow I have to take my car in for some recall work...............and..............in the afternoon I  have a massage!!! woo hoo!!!
I hope this hodge-podge makes sense.