Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Oh my joints ache!

I could not sleep again last night. My legs and arms hurt so bad. It is just a constant throb. I tried massaging them myself but it didn't seem to help. I finallyb relented and took another pain killer. I realized that I'm now immune to them and they do not work. I'm afraid to try anything stronger, as these are already strong. It was my leg joints killing me and now it is my arms too!

I had meetings all day today but I had a short break between two of them at lunch time so I went and got a pedi/mani and the really only reason I did it was for the massage. It hurt at the time but felt a little better and now the pain is back. So frustrating....the neuropathy in my feet has been getting worse again. However, it is only at the top of my feet and not the soles. I know in the big scheme of things, this really is nothing but when you hurt all night, and can't sleep it does start to wear on you.

I got home and Steve was putting on Angela's new license plate she got from a friend for her birthday (which was Saturday). Happy 19th Angela! The license plate says it all, "#1 Brat". Spoiled rotten kids but they have been such good girls and what a blessing....

Mom, dad and all the rest of the family are either in Savannah or headed to Savannah this weekend. I thought getting away sounded nice but then it just makes you tired so I'll wait until Fall and go to the mountains.

I must admit (I've been putting off saying this) that I've been more than a little stressed. In fact, I think I'd became right down depressed, which isn't my nature at all. After going through almost of year of doing everything to survive, you begin to view things through totally different lenses. You don't realize how traumatic it is mentally until after you go through it. I realize that I was crying very easy over very small things. I feel like everything is going to swallow me up...where ever I'm at, I want to be somewhere else....but don't know where that somewhere else is. I don't like for anyone to get upset. It instantly brings me to tears when I hear someone is sick. My body still isn't as well as I pretend it to be but I don't expect any sympathy so I don't like to bother anyone else with it.

The only person that I will usually bother is poor Steve. I don't know how that guy stays so strong and does what he does. Most would crumble under the pressure he has been under but sometimes I wonder if it doesn't make him stronger vs. weaker like it would most. I know he hides his feelings. We are somehow both good at doing that which is not really good but then again, it doesn't help the situation to whine either.

The only reason I'm sharing any of this is because I think it is important to share the feelings of what you go through...although I've not totally shared everything...I will share that it is more than mentally tough....

Thanks to Steve for going to the mall with me tonight just to get out after work. I was hurting all day and evening but thought doing something different would help. I felt bad because I could tell how tired Steve was and then I felt guilty for asking him to do something. He never complains.

Well, tomorrow is the last work day of this week. Yeah! I have so much to do though, I wonder how I will be able to with the short week. I'm not allowing myself to get into working hours and hours of overtime. My body is not ready and I don't think that I should get into that habit. It is not good physically or mentally.

I'm exhausted. Everyone have a very safe and happy holiday!!
Love to all,

Monday, June 29, 2009

Have you ever had so much to do that you ignore it all?

This is the way I feel today. I have so much work to do at work and so much at home that I'm having a hard time getting anything done. I need to turn into an octupus to be able to reach all the areas that need something done. I guess we all feel that way, huh?

I'm working on a multi-billion dollar contract right now which is the most stressful part of my job. I have a credit performance meeting with the Executive team at another large lender I've just taken on in 2 weeks so I will be on the road again. I've just taken them on and now I get to go share the news of the things that are/aren't working well...oh joy, what a way to break the ice! Here I am and here's your report card, "F". I'll be back in a couple of months to review you again. See ya! ha.

A month after that I will be in Cincinnati at one of lenders shops to be part of an audit of the Corporation. It seems like I'm going to be doing alot of traveling to keep up with everything. I've finally started getting into the groove a little. Some days I would wonder if I was really going to be able to do it. There is no "slow" in this business. It is like jumping on a roller coaster and trying to slow it down with your feet...impossible. I've been back to work a month after being off for almost a year so I think I may expect too much of myself too quickly. All in a day's work for the young'uns.

I can't wait until they get their degrees and really working so I can lay on their beds and say, "man, I really need a new car....and not just anyone will do". "Can you buy me one, please?" Look at them with the sad face, puckered lip and tell them how much I love them....I just bet they will be jumping up with glee at the thought of doing something for me! Yeah right...! Somehow it doesn't work that way...:-) Sounds good though. They truly are our greatest joys in life.

I love my dogs but they don't live long enough. All you have to do is give them a bone every once in a while, feed, water and get their shots once a year and they are good to go. Always happy to see you, listens to all your troubles and never tells a soul and couldn't imagine being anywhere else but home.

This 4th of July I think we are going to stay home and plant some landscaping and deep clean the house. Oh doesn't that sound like fun? We tore out the landscaping in front of our house last year and then I got sick so unfortunately, it left our house bare and looking sick too! We are trying to find a good nursery for inexpensive but a nice tree to plant in front of the house (can't grow very big) and other types of shrubs etc. Steve went by Home Depot by our house and said what was there was pretty pitiful looking. We don't really know what we are doing but we at least know when plants/trees, etc. look healthy.

Well, gonna go...got home a few minutes early to miss the traffic...was thinking a nice nap sounded good.

Love to all,

Everything's fine....

Sorry, I didn't realize that I had not updated this since my last tests. Someone got me on facebook and I updated to let everyone know and then someone asked me about my tests....and I said, "yes, I updated online".....and they said, "don't leave us hanging on the blog".....sorry, I thought I had updated....

Everything is fine from my tests. The spot on my liver they believe is only cystic (fluid buildup). They always tend to locate more cysts or other things within my body and the pathology report will say, "need to closely watch" so I never really feel like I get a "clear no worries" type of clearance.

However, I'm very thankful that I didn't have any new cancer. I will have follow-up tests in 4 months now vs. 2 month intervals. I was glad about that.

The weekend has been a scorcher but beautiful. Man, I couldn't sleep at all last night. I should be on the road right now on the way to work. So I better get off and get outta here. Just wanted to tell all of you how much I appreciate the constant prayers, etc. They aren't taking my port out for awhile. My guess is that they will leave it in as long as they can until I reach 5 year survival without any re-occurance. It doesn't hurt or anything...well, every once in a while it will jab into my shoulder but other than that it is kid's play in comparison to anything else.

Have alot of work at work to do so, 'austa la pasta'.

Love to all,

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Buzzzzzy as usual....

Another very busy day at work. They are changing customer assignments around and so I've now gained another National customer. So, I will be really really bussssy at work and traveling again in a couple of weeks. In our economy, I'm blessed to have a job but wishing Adam and Eve didn't screw up in the beginning of time. I could see myself eating from the garden...not worrying about work, just enjoying the life God made for us. Adam was too weak and listened to his woman so off to work we all go.....

Tomorrow morning back to Emory to get my results. Will blog tomorrow...

By the way, talked with my best friend growing up that I've not seen in 25 years last night for 2 hrs. She and I grew up together on the same street in Indiana and now she is in Portland, Oregon and of course, I'm in the awesome state of Georgia. Funny the paths our lives take us.....

I'm tired as usual so I'm going to rest....will let you know how things go tomorrow. It is going to be another great day, I just know!!

Love to all,

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Belated Father's Day!

I hope all the Father's had a wonderful day today. It was so beautiful that it was just hot!! I almost went out to the pool this afternoon, which will be my first in 2 years but realized that I would be scorched. I stayed in and paid bills. Kimberly came in after dinner and went out to the pool. She lives out there these days.

The girls brought breakfast to their dad in bed. They made blueberry pancakes, eggs, whole grain biscuit and milk. We went to church and had an awesome service (they are all awesome, seriously)!! We went to dinner with the family after church and had an awesome lemon creme pie. It was wonderful to be with my 91 yr. old grandpa, dad and mom, brother-Jonathan and family, and my sister-in-law Angie. You realize how precious pictures are because you never know who might not be here next year. It could be any one of us. We are not promised tomorrow-no matter what age. We have to spend more time enjoying what we have rather than what we do not have....we are all guilty of thinking of what else needs to be done, so on and so forth rather than just sitting, resting and relaxing with our family.

I told my sister-in-law today how sad it is when you think about how much time we are consumed with our jobs. We go to bed early for our jobs. We come home tired from our jobs. So our life is living for the weekend. In this economy, we are all lucky to have our jobs but it doesn't matter if you work at home or away from home, we are always planning our next thing to do. How often do we just sit and reflect?

Speaking of time....I need to go get ready to go to bed. It is going to be a very very busy week at work. I remember Friday when I left work looking at my calendar for this week. It had me tired out already! ha.

Have a restful night!
Love to all,

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I'm so tired...will I ever catch up on sleep?

I had my testing at Emory yesterday. I was exhausted from getting in from the airport at 11 pm. the night before and then getting up early again to go to Emory. I was actually looking forward to having my tests, just to put it behind me....until I got there and thought about drinking that nasty stuff again.

When we got there, we lucked out and got a parking space right on the first level of the parking garage. It hasn't happened in a year going down there. I immediately went and signed into the Oncology lab. The Oncology nurses do a much better job of setting your lines for testing. I knew they couldn't use my port but it needed to be flushed. They push the radioactive dye through my veins so fast that it will blow out my port but the nurse told me that a good port line can stay in for 8 years. I've not had any trouble with my port so I would rather keep it in and keep it free from blood clots. I don't think I would ever have to use it again but it does help to push meds through it rather than always getting stuck in my arms or hands.

The first nurse was not qualified to do the lines in my arm and port so they had to send me back out to wait. The amount of people waiting, as usual increases and there is only 1 nurse doing the more complex procedures. She said since Emory has gotten the Cancer Certification that the numbers have increased but the resources have not. We learn that the nurses are all in a meeting therefore slowing down the progress. In other words, if you had a 7 a.m. appt. and the nurses don't get out of their meeting until 8:30 a.m. you are in a first come, first serve and could be waiting for more than a couple of hours.

The Oncology nurses remember me and start talking as they are working. I feel bad because although I'm being taken care of, I know there are many outside still waiting and waiting....

After my lines are both set in my arm and port, we head to the tunnel to Radiology. We are 15 mins. early for my appt. However, as we sit there and the time passes, we begin to wonder if they forgot about me, as Radiology is usually on time. Two guys came out to get me from the waiting room. The first guy works in Radiology and introduces the other guy with him as a Medical student learning the ropes. I soon realize why they are behind...the guy from Radiology is really enjoying showing this Medical student all he knows about the procedure. I can tell he is disappointed that I went and had my line put into my arm so he doesn't get to show that off. He goes through every single step again, although I could recite it, just for the Med student to hear. As we are going over everything, someone pops their head in the room and says, "you aren't done yet, we have someone else waiting for you?" The guy bends over backwards to allow me to pick the flavors of the nasty stuff, Banana, Berry or lemonade...I know it all tastes bad so I stick with the (2) 20 oz. glasses of pink lemonade (what a falsehood).

They allow me to go back out into the waiting room to drink this stuff over the next hour. If you know me, I have a terrible gag reflux. If it tastes bad, it is coming back up so I try not to smell it. I noticed this family sitting to my left watching me as I smell it and shudder. I can't help it. Steve pulls up his test results for me to read to get my mind off drinking this stuff.

They come back and get you after an hour. The actual test is no big deal but as the Rad Tech explains to the Med student, they have to push this dye into my vein really fast. I've never had pain with that before, except I feel it burning as it goes through my body but this time...as soon as the Rad Tech said, I'm starting your pump, I feel like my vein is on fire. I start to say, "Ow, Ow, Ow....you are about to blow my vein up", she immediately goes back to turn it down. She said, "sorry I had it up as fast as it can go".....There isn't much you can do because you are laying down with your hands behind your head and the line the dye is running through is connected to the pic in your arm and they wind it through your fingers so essentially you are stuck. They take several scans and its over. Well, except that drinking that stuff always makes me sick to my stomach for a couple of days.

I was back at work this morning. Every 2 months I will go through this testing. Running labs on my blood and having different types of scans. I'm thankful that there are scans that can detect these things early. Now I go for my test results this next Wednesday. I always have an appt. a week after with my Oncology Doctor.

Thanks for all the kind comments. I'm just tired...wonder if I'll ever catch up on sleep again?

Love to all,

Monday, June 15, 2009

Man, oh Man am I tired?

I'm so sorry that it has been so long since I've written. I've been so tired since returning to work June 1st. The first few days, I wondered if I was going to make it. By the time I got to work, I was exhausted just from the driving. I could hardly keep my eyes open. As the days have progressed, I'm not as sleepy in the morning but as the day wears on....oh, I just feel exhausted!

I told Steve last night that I do not feel normal. Although I'm doing all the normal things I used to do, I don't feel normal. It has changed me to the very core of my being. I can't explain it because I've already tried. I think it is the way we should always feel. Being on the constant wheel of change and stress doesn't really get you anywhere. We are conditioned to run a marathon everyday with what we have to do, see, etc. but that conditioning is not me anymore. I hate to use the words, "I don't care" but "I don't care" about the things that do not count.

Someone that will remain nameless was diagnosed with breast cancer two months before my diagnosis. We know each other through our husbands. I've kept up with her through my husband. She had been doing really well until recently. She went into work and spent the day at a going away party. They thought she had overdone it when she starting getting viral symptons. As it continued, they spoke with the doctor and he said it wasn't viral but it was the cancer. They had been so optimistic because they were told the chemo was really helping to clear the spots that had moved to her lungs. They just put her into the hospital Sunday night because she can hardely breathe.

I was so upset that I couldn't stop crying. Steve kept asking me what was wrong and I really couldn't explain why I was crying. The only way I know how to explain it is that I was relating to what she was going through in her mind. You wonder if this nightmare is ever going to go away. Please pray for this family. They really really need a miracle. I know God is able to do anything we ask, we just have to ask him and believe.

I was so happy to hear that my boss' father had colon surgery and is doing well. No chemo or radiation required. He had colon cancer when he was younger but they stopped testing him so frequently. When they did finally test him, it was back. Thank the Lord that it was caught in time before it spread!!

Every day I wonder what am I doing on this earth and why am I here? Is this what I'm supposed to be doing?? I'm so thankful for my job especially the fact that they waited almost a year for me to return. I've been able to jump right in and figure out what is going on alot quicker than I thought that I might. However, no matter where you work or live, is there more to life than this? It is a very strange feeling.

You realize how fragile life really is but yet we take so much for granted. I'm so thankful for all my family and friends alike. So many have done so much....I wonder if I've ever been a friend like that to anyone? If I haven't, then I sure need to be because that is when it really counts.

Well, I'm really tired. I have business travel in the morning, will get back to the airport around 10 pm. tomorrow night and then down to Emory for my testing first thing Wednesday.

Sorry I'm rambling, I think I'm just tired....
Have a good night,
Love to all,

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Well....maybe I'm not so strong after all.....

I absolutely feel worn out today. My hands, legs and feet are swollen. I have no idea why but just going into work has me exhausted. My mind and my body are not in sync on getting back to work. My mind is ready but my body is not.

The consultant they hired to work on one of my customers' is staying for a couple of weeks to get me into the loop on what is happening with my customer. I'm thankful for that but the whole job has changed dramatically from before so I learning the job from scratch. Learning is not the hard part, it is trying to understand what has changed, what policy or directive is affected, what supercedes what and what type of authority approval it all requires. You definitelyl have to have a fresh mind to absorb all the information. It is a year's worth of change that I need to get through in a couple of weeks.

Of course, I'm still trying to get access into the systems so I can understand all the statistics, data and performance but.......so many people have to be involved to approve the authority for me to have access...just takes forever. So it is always a little frustrating in the beginning just trying to extract data when your access is so limited. This all takes time and I will try to be patient. It is difficult when you have to have intelligent conversations with customers and you don't even know the answers yourself. So this is the part of my normal chaotic world where I used to thrive...now I feel like I'm not accomplishing anything.

If I took pain killers all day like I did when we went to California, I would be fine. I can't live on pain killers. I have come to appreciate their purpose for when I have alot of pain but I do not want to grow dependent upon them. Many times when people tell me how good I look and how it seems like I'm really getting around is usually because I've taken something. I tease and say I've become a drug addict because I would rarely ever take medicine before but you learn really fast that you take them to survive. This will eventually all go away but it just takes time....

It is amazing how many people have cancer or maybe I'm just more sensitive to it. My boss told me that her cousin has stage 3 colon cancer and wanted to know if I would call her. She has just had part of her colon removed and is about to start chemo. I learned the hard way some tips on nausea, pain, etc. and it does help to talk with someone who has been through it.

Our VP's father has just had surgery also for colon cancer. I told her that we would be praying for him but haven't heard any updated information on how he is doing.

It just makes you wonder what is in our food...if colon cancer is the second most common cancer and 80% of people diagnosed do not have a family history...it just makes you wonder?? My doctors have never been able to determine what caused mine.

The weather has been beautiful and warm for lazy days by the pool. My girls have been able to take advantage of that in between working. I don't feel up to going out to the pool yet.

I just have to remember to take one day at a time because otherwise, it will overwhelm me. I've come to far by God's grace and mercy and I don't need to squander my blessing. My co-workers have been so sweet and tell me that I need to go home and take it easy. I'm thankful that they care and recognize that my body is not up for all this at one time yet. In a couple of weeks, I think I'll be fine. I just have to get used to doing it all again.....

I'm really really tired and already have my pjs on but I'm afraid if I lay down right now, I will fall asleep all evening, wake up and not be able to sleep tonight. Although I may not wake up until morning since I can't stop yawning. Oh, I just feel so lazy anymore....ugh!

Thank you for all the wonderful comments via e-mail, work e-mail, blog comments or in passing...it really makes me want to push myself that much more just knowing so many people care! :-)

By the way, Vernie I did notice in one of your blog comments that you would be walking in my honor in a Cancer Walk. It is so hard to believe that you would take so much time to encourage me yet, you didn't even know me until we met at my tea! I feel very humbled that you would walk in my honor. You have been such a wonderful blessing :-)

Tammy-Reconnecting with you all these years...wow, it has been awesome. You are just as sweet and calm as you always were. I remember chaotic times at work when you would say, "well, now let's see about that" in your calm and collected way. I know everyone in our dept. then just thought you were the bomb! ;-) You are still great today as you were then!

Linda Shanks-Thank you for all the cards and encouraging words while you yourself are going through physical illness. You were always special to us at school....you always getting into trouble with the rest of us even though you were supposed to be the teacher. I remember you telling everyone, "hurry get back to your seats, Sis. Frazier is coming!!" ha. We had so much fun....those were the first years after arriving here from Indiana. You definitely were special then as you are now....we are praying for your dad.

Mickey -Oh my goodness, you have kept up with me and have helped keep others informed at work...always thinking of ways to make the chemo months better (still worrying about me). All your cards, trips to my house to deliver all the drinks/plastic flatware/plates/cups/napkins/lemon drops/peppermint tea, your calls....You have been such an angel and blessing to our family. I can't say enough about how much you helped us through the work family.

I didn't want to name anyone on my blogs because there are sooooooo many people who have been such a blessing to us. However, I decided today that I'm going to start sharing some of these blessings. I do not want to hurt anyone if your name isn't personally mentioned because I'm so grateful and thankful for all the prayers, comments, calls and support from everyone...believe me, everyone is and has been so important to us!!!

I want to share so that others may be inspired to pass the blessing forward to others. It does matter to those that are sick when they receive a card. It can be a homemade card. It does matter that you are praying and make a point to say so....nothing you do, even a word in passing, pat on the back goes unnoticed. You have truly been the hands and feet of God pushing, pulling, tugging and moving forward the awesome blessing I've received with my diagnosis of, "no evidence of disease".....YOU are the reason. Do not ever think that what you have to offer is to small or really doesn't count...IT DOES!!

I want to have an attitude of gratitude every day I live! I thank you for the blessing you helped bring into my life....my journey would not be the same without YOU!

Life is precious, I don't want to squander it.
Love to all,

Monday, June 1, 2009

I Survived!

Today was my official back to work day. I felt anxious walking into the building but was so excited that I made it to my cube without anyone seeing me. As soon as I set down my laptop, I start seeing heads and smiles around me. I can tell they had been anticipating my arrival today.

The first thing they told me was that I had gone through the wrong door. So, I had to go around to the other door where they had a very large homemade welcome card signed with well wishes from all my co-workers (co-horts in crime). Ahhh, so sweet.

Of course since I've been gone so long, my access into all the systems that I work with didn't work. I couldn't even remember my access codes to get into my phone! You have to remember that I've worked there for 20 years and have used the same code for my phone forever! My mind was just blank...a couple of our IT guys came over and helped me get into the system but I still can't get into all the systems that I really need to use!

Before I knew it, it was lunch time. They had ordered sandwiches from Jason's Deli and everyone brought in delicious side dishes! It was wonderful. However, I was really feeling tired by then and so I guess I was quiet because someone noticed and asked me if I was okay. I guess I didn't realize that I hadn't been talking (imagine that?).

Once I got into my inbox, I had almost 4,000 e-mails. I just started reading them one by one. The bad part is that we are under guidance from our legal dept. that we must retain all our e-mails, work, etc. so there really is no way to delete anything and have a clean inbox. I just started sending them to a folder, called "trash".

I think after seeing all the mounds of policy books, etc. that I have to go through to get a handle on my customer contracts is mind boggling but not overwhelming. I tried to take it all in stride and remind myself that if I could make it through chemo, I can make it reading through stacks of paperwork!

We worked out my business travel on June 16th to fly into Cincinnati that morning, then drive to my customer's office, have our meetings and fly back out the same night (We'll get in around 10:00 pm.). The next morning, I have to be at Emory at 7 a.m. for my test on my liver. The test that I have usually makes me sick so I will just have to take the rest of that day off.

I am very tired! I already have my pjs on so I'm going to go rest. Meet you back here tomorrow. Same place, same time! :-)

Love to all,