Thursday, December 11, 2008


Sometimes, life knocks you down. And sometimes, life knocks you out... for a bit.

Looking back, I feel like I got knocked down back in March. But I was able to get back up, and all in all, felt like I only had a few scratches at the end.

Last weekend, I got knocked out.

So, you might ask me how I'm doing - and the honest answer is - physically, I am doing GREAT! It's been two months since my last chemotherapy treatment and I am back to work full time and really happy about that. And although I probably won't be able to do more than to say "I'm okay"... I still am hopeful. I still believe. I am not angry. I do not feel like God is doing this to me. And I am soooo thankful for my friends and family... and sometimes, even strangers.

Speaking of strangers, I had a plumbing emergency this past weekend at my duplex and a very nice guy came over and did the work. I was a total mess and he was really sensitive to that. And after all was said and done, he said he was sorry for what I was going through and then offered to work out a payment plan with me after the holiday season to make things a little bit easier. Boy, he had no idea what has been going on, but that was sure a nice thing to do. Anyway, the least I can do is plug his business as he did a real good job there too...

Bill Contreras
FlashPoint Heating and Residential HVAC Solutions
3644 S Nepal St
Aurora, CO 80013

Monday, November 10, 2008

A month gone by..... already?

Guess what today is... my one month anniversary of being chemo-free. Well, at least my last day of chemo was October 10th when I disconnected my infusion pump (banana phone) and had my central line removed. Who knows how long the stuff sticks around inside me.

Boy, this month seemed to fly by. I've been at work for two weeks now and it's going well. I am only working part-time, 4 hours a day and that really worked out to be a wise decision. My hands are aching by the time my shift is over and I am still pretty tired when I get home. I think if I were to be working full time right now, I could probably handle the fatigue - but not sure what I would do about the neuropathy. Still praying that it will eventually go away or at the very least, that the pain would lessen.

Anyway, that's all. Just a quick update. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I'm back!

So I had my party and I thought it was awesome. I felt so looooooved! :o)

My only regrets are that I felt like I barely said "hi" and "bye" to almost everyone - didn't really have much of a chance to sit and talk to anybody... Bummmmmmer. But hopefully we will catch up if we didn't get to there. I'm also bummed that I didn't take enough pictures! argh!

Awe well, I still had fun and it was great to see so many friends and family who have been so supportive to me over these past 7 months. And it was a great way to kick off my new adventure - getting back to a "normal life" - YAY!

Speaking of a "normal life", today I went back to work. It was not very successful cause my login didn't work, but it was still pretty exciting to be back. Hopefully tomorrow will go smoother in as much as my being able to access my account. I have ALOT of email to go through!

I'm gonna post the few pictures I did get and I also thought I would post recipes for the Sangria and the Sausage Potato Soup - I got asked alot for both of those.... (Click on picture to view album...)


1 bottle fruity red wine (I used Lambrusco)
2 cups pomegranate juice (I used Blueberry-Pomegranate Juice)
1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup Triple Sec
1/4 cup simple syrup (equal amounts sugar and water, heated until sugar dissolves, cooled)
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
1 large orange, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 pineapple, sliced into wedges
1 lime, halved and thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 48 hours before serving. Serve over ice.

Sausage Potato Soup
(Copycat) This is a clone of the Olive Garden
4-6 servings
1½ hours
20 min prep

1 lb Italian sausage
2 large russet baking potatoes, sliced in half,and then in 1/4 inch slices
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 can Oscar Meyer bacon bits
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups kale or swiss chard, chopped
2 cans chicken broth
1 quart water
1 cup heavy whipping cream
  1. Cook sausage in a 300°F oven for approximately 30 minutes.
  2. Drain sausages on paper towels and cut into slices.
  3. Place onions, potatoes, chicken broth, water, garlic in pot, and cook on medium heat until potatoes are done.
  4. Add sausage and bacon.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Simmer for another 10 minutes.
  7. Turn to low heat.
  8. Add kale and cream.
  9. Heat through and serve.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Quick update...

Just a quick update since I've been told I am slacking :o)

I am doing great! So happy to be done with chemo, just can't stop smiling. My side effects are going away - I don't have nausea everyday and my face doesn't hurt as much (headache, jaw-ache and watery eyes)... I still have fatigue and am sleeping in and I have neuropathy in both feet and both hands, but especially bad in my left hand for some reason. I've been wearing a glove to ease the discomfort and have heard the Michael Jackson comments a few times - so hahaha :o)

Other than that, excited about my party on Saturday. Woohoo! Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Officiallly Done with Chemo!

Yesterday I completed my last banana phone (take home chemo). And then I went into the clinic to have my central line removed. Praise God. I've had those plastic tubes sticking out of my chest and arm for 6 months! You don't know what a relief it is for me not to have them there anymore. I am soooo happy!

So yay! I am done with that. Moving on to the next phases... Some testing, lots of waiting. But I'm sure it will be easier than chemo was.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session XII

Haha! I actually don't have much to say except Hooray! I had my last chemotherapy appointment today!!!!!

Everything went well. I had low magnesium, but nothing that stopped the treatment. I also was advised to take a vitamin supplement for my neuropathy (tingly fingers and toes). And I found out that I might have to come back in three months vs six months... either works for me. As of now - I am in REMISSION!!!! or NED (no evidence of disease). Praise God! And on Friday afternoon I will go in to take my pump off and remove my central lines. YAY! I am way excited about that!

My mom took in a big cake to celebrate. Mondo visited for my last treatment.... and as I finished my infusion, the nurses came over and sang "Hit the Road Jack!", gave me hugs, wished me well and sent me off with a card signed by all. It was pretty sweet. As I was leaving, another patient started talking to me and asking about my treatment. She was on her 2nd and was pretty scared. I told her about my experience and how I think my attitude, my friends and family and my faith made a BIG difference in how positive my experience was. I gave her a hug and wished her well. I hope hers goes as well as mine did...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Followup and Party Party Party!

Oops. I guess it took me a while to get back. It would be true to say that I have been wayyyyy more tired this past week than I have been through my whole treatment - so I have been sleeping accordingly. But, tiredness and sleep I can deal with, so I'm not complaining.

When I did find some energy to get up - I hung out with Mondo and Eric, went to a movie with Darren & Mondo (Igor), saw the Bronco game at Mario & Karen's and also went to lunch and a movie with my friend Wendy (Nights in Rodanthe - I know Mondo was disappointed I didn't wait for him to see it with me - haha). It's been a good week.

So anyway... followup. Last week I talked to Dr Azar about followup (she will be out of the office on my last appointment). It's pretty basic I guess. Sometime in December I will need to go in for a colonoscopy. Ugh. FYI - this will be my first one. I know a lot of people think I've had one, but no. If I had had one, perhaps I never would have got this far! Anyway... then in March I will have a CT Scan. And in April I will visit Dr Azar to see how things look. Here's praying for nice and clear with no signs of Evil Cancer growth.

My last chemo is one week from tomorrow! I will wear the pump for two days and should be able to get my central line taken out on Friday! I am sooooo excited I can't even tell you. In the meantime I am planning an "End of Chemo" party. It's set for October 25th and if you didn't get the evite - please drop me a line with your email address! BTW - October 25th is also my dad's birthday so we should have cake too! Come Celebrate with me!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session X I

I am excited that after today, I only have ONE chemotherapy session to go... really, I am. But I am really tired right now and my tummy hurts, so I'm not so up to writing a blog at the moment. I have updates because I found out what my next steps will be and I will post them later.

Short story - today basically went well, I'm home, and I'm gonna go take a nap.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bring. It. On.

"angry stitches" + central line falling out + PICC line insert + ouch, blood clots + PICC line removed + another surgery + new central line. + breathing problems + CAT scan + more steroids = THREE crummy weeks!

But I'm over it. As soon as I finished my last chemo I vowed that my next four - LAST four would be better.

So far, so good!

Fri, 09/12 - Roller Derby! Woohoo!
Sat, 09/13 - My Godson's Bday Party
Sun, 09/14 - Family BBQ
Mon, 09/15 - Walk with Beth
Tues, 09/16 - zzzzzzzzzzz....
Wed, 09/17 - Walk & Lunch w/Beth, Dinner w/Mario & Karen
Thu, 09/18 - Dinner & La Rhumba (dancing - even though I didn't dance :o) w/friends
Fri, 09/19 - Lunch w/Lisa, Darren & Adrian. Movie w/Mondo, Adrian & Darren. Dinner w/Mondo, Mario & Karen - part of my "mini-make-a-wish", we went to Landry's Seafood House - yummmmm....
Sat, 09/20 - Miracle Party 2008 in honor of some amazing kids battling cancer, including my cousin Taylor!

I'm not gonna lie - I'm tired. And I feel more tired everyday. But getting out re-energizes me and makes me feel oh so much better than when I stay home. It was a great week, spent with a lot of people I love. And although I am not overbooking myself next week - I am looking forward to having three more good weeks to end this part of my battle! Bring. It. On.

Check out the pix from the Miracle Party. Isn't Taylor beautiful! She's amazing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session X

Sooooo, today was FUN... well, it wasn't really FUN, but it was exciting. I guess what I really mean is - it was a looooong day at the Franklin Clinic.

Where do I start? My day should look something like this - 10:30 Blood Draw, 11:30 Dr Appt, 12:00 Chemo, 2:30/3'ish on my way home.

Instead it looked like this -
10:35 - Arrive at Franklin Center
10:40'ish - Get checked in
10:45 - Check into Oncology
11:00 - Blood Draw
12:00 - Dr Appt
2:30'ish - Start Chemo
5 minutes after 2:30'ish - Stop Chemo
2:45 - CT Scan
3:30 - Back up to Oncology - restart Chemo
6:00 - Finish Chemo

I was running late in the morning, so that got my blood draw off whack. And then the labs came back showing my neutrophils were good to go, but my "chemistry" labs weren't back. I didn't know what that meant, but apparently the chemistry labs have to do with my liver and kidney function. That was a pretty big holdup.

Hmmm... I should backtrack a little. When I saw my nurse and Dr Azar I told them that I was having some breathing problems last night. I had a really crummy night's sleep with the breathing funny thing, plus my shoulder is still sore from surgery and it didn't help that I stayed up late playing TWIRL on Facebook! Anyway, I told them that it didn't hurt but it felt like my breath was being taken away (and not in a good way) or like I had the wind knocked out of me. Dr Azar thought it was probably the Neupogen. This made sense cause I took the Neupogen Monday evening and that is about when I noticed the problem. There was a bit of an occurrence on the way to the clinic and while I was waiting for my meds. But when they hooked up the Chemo, it got really bad and both my friend Sheila and my nurse Julie noticed, so she stopped the Chemo and took my vitals. Then she gave me a dose of steroids in case it was an allergic reaction. Dr Azar came over and said she ordered a CT scan just to make sure there weren't any blood clots in my lungs. Cause although the timing coordinated with the Neupogen shot, it also coordinated with my surgery.

The results of the CT Scan were negative and I actually felt better by the time they re-hooked up the Chemo. Dr Azar still thinks it was the Neupogen because it can have a side effect like that and she thinks the additional steroids they gave me helped. And even though it was negative, I'm not sorry for having had the scan. There are things that run through my mind when I get some sort of symptom that wasn't there the night before. It kinda freaks me out. That also could be the reason I stayed up so late - I'm even afraid to go to sleep! The thought of complications is scarier for me than the thought of cancer. Isn't that weird?

So here's something that happened today that I never would have expected. When she told me about the CT Scan, Dr Azar asked if I would have the $ for the co-pay, cause if I didn't she would lend me the money - she just wanted to be sure it wasn't a clot. The co-pay was a hundred bucks. I said "no", I didn't have it and asked if they could bill me. She said they could. But she came back a few minutes later and threw a hundred dollar bill in my lap and told me I could pay her back whenever I had it. What the! Sheila has been with me since the beginning of all this and she has liked Dr Azar from the beginning... but even she walked away saying how her opinion of her went up notches. She had never witnessed anything like that - and she's a nurse. Well, all I can say is she's awesome and I am so happy she's my doc.

Bummer about having to wait so long for lab results.
Good things - Good company! (Thanks Shelia!) And we got to see a HUGE military helicopter land at the hospital across the street. That kept us entertained for a few minutes.

Bummer about me having kidnapped Sheila for so long today because she stayed with me till I was done.
Good thing
- I am really good company. hahaha. At least I am funny! But really, Mondo brought us dinner and we sat out on the patio and enjoyed the nice weather while having our BBQ sandwiches.

Bummer that I missed my WDP Board of Trustees meeting.
Good thing
- my presentation was already sent to the Head of School so he could pass it out for me.

Bummer that there were all the mishaps (or whatever you would call them) of the day.
Good thing
- I have an aaaaaaawwweeesooooome Oncology Team. Dr Azar, Julie and Lisa are the best and they really make me feel like I am getting the best care I could hope for.

Best thing of the day - I only have TWO more Chemotherapy Sessions after today!!!!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Surgery update...

Surgery Update
I made it to my appointment at 11am, and had to wait in pre-op until almost 1pm. My surgery lasted about an hour and it worked on the first try! I guess they did an XRay in the operating room to make sure the line went to the right place. I woke up in the OR, and I remember talking to the doctors and people in the room, but I don't remember about what. Then the next thing I know, I was in recovery and felt like I just woke up from a good nap. It was 2pm. I stayed in recovery for two hours and then was able to go home on some extra strength Tylenol :o) We stopped for lunch/dinner on the way home and I wasn't nauseous at all. So it was a good day.

Other News
Hey, I talk about my little cousin Taylor on my blog and I'm posting a 9News story that she was interviewed on. If you have three minutes, take a look. Isn't she beautiful!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Third times a charm???

I just got home from my pre-op appointment. Yep, that means the winner is - the Central Line or Hohn Catheter. Yay. I really mean YAY! cause at least I will be given anesthesia. I don't know what the difference is between the PICC and the Hohn - but for some reason the PICC can be installed with only a numbing agent and by a nurse. But the Hohn requires surgery. Since I have chemo on Wednesday, they had to scramble to get it scheduled, but it's set. I go in on Monday at 11am and this should allow me to stay on track with my treatments. Another YAY!

Soooooo, I'm a little nervous. This is the third time I'm having a line installed. I'm starting to feel like Swiss Cheese. Each of the previous times it had to be done twice! For some reason, my anatomy didn't lead the line to the right place on the first insertions. Soooooo, my praying friends - I wouldn't mind if you put in a good word or two that this goes right the first time!

Onto brighter news... I just read my cousin Taylor's most recent blog entry and it looks like they are having a party. It's called 2008 Miracle Party and it's honoring several kids battling with cancer, including Taylor. Please visit her site or the 2008 Miracle Party site for more information if you might be interested in attending.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Owwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwch! That hurts!

I guess going to the Medical Center every other week isn't enough for me, so I took a trip there today...

My upper arm has been bothering me since I had my PICC line installed just over a week ago. It's been a dull but constant pain increasing each day and although I could deal with it if I had to, it still hurt. It wasn't so fun to sleep with it either.

I didn't want to call in cause I was afraid of what they would say... like maybe "come in, we might have to take it out." But I thought, it probably shouldn't be feeling worse than when they put it in, so I called. They said "Come in, let us check it out. It's probably just an irritation in your vein, but we want to make sure there aren't any blood clots."

I went right in, got there about 12:45. Dr Azar said she could see some redness and that it shouldn't be hurting. She (and nurse Julie) ordered an ultrasound. Julie really worked some magic cause they said they didn't have an appointment until 3:30pm and when I went down to Radiology, they said they didn't have anything open until the 9th! But it all got straightened out and I was seen by 2pm.

It was coming up to 4 o'clock and I had to head out for a Parent Council Meeting at Darren's school, so I asked if they could change my dressing and I could check back for results. We optimistically hoped that no news was good news. Julie tracked down Dr Azar just before I was getting ready to leave and just AFTER Lisa had changed my dressing.

Apparently I was starting to get blood clots (not a good thing) and they had to pull the line. Argh... I just smiled and said "okay". Ya have to do what you have to do right? Dr Azar said I might need to get another Central Line (in my chest). I just am not sure how I feel about it. It seemed a bit easier than the PICC as I had an extra hand to use... but it's surgery.... and a $100 co-pay vs the $20 co-pay for the PICC line! But a PICC line in my right arm? That doesn't sound so fun either. Awe, whatever. For now, I have to take aspirin once a day until I hear back from Oncology. They will let me know what I am scheduled for.

Good news! No co-pay today! Yay!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session IX

YAY! My neutrophils decided to be friends with me again. They came up enough for me to get my 9th treatment today. Only THREE more to go. I almost can't believe it.

So there was an Angel at the infusion center today. See, since I didn't expect to have to come in for treatment today, I didn't have company with me. No big deal, I was tired and I wanted to sleep through the treatment. BUT, I didn't bring myself lunch and I thought I was gonna be sorry about that 'cause I am usually hungry by 1pm... I'm lounging in my chair, trying to read a book - but kinda distracted 'cause my vision was a little bit blurry. And this lady comes up to me and asks me "Would you like lunch?" And I was like - "Um, just lunch - you're just giving away lunch?" And she was like "Yeah, no reason. I have ham, turkey or roast beef with all the trimmings." So I took her up on her offer and she brought me a plate with a ham sandwich, chips, pickles and a little chocolate cake. How nice is that! And she even came back and asked if I wanted seconds. She didn't say her name, but I asked one of the nurses what that was all about. She said that the Angel's husband was receiving treatment there at one time. After he passed away, she said she wanted to come back to give support to the patients so every last Thursday of the month, she comes in with lunch. She was really sweet. Really real. A real Angel.

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 9.2
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.7
12.0 16.0
HCT 36.3
34.0 47.0
Platelets 163
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 6.4
1.5 7.5

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

No chemo for you! Deja vu

I kinda thought this was gonna happen 'cause I forgot to take my neupogen shot on Monday night. I called in and they told me not to take the shot and to go ahead and come in 'cause the counts could come up...

Well, true story - my counts weren't high enough to get chemotherapy. My doctor and the head nurse were soooooo apologetic, it made me feel bad. Mostly because I wasn't stressed out or angry about it at all. I had to go in anyway to get my dressing changed on my PICC Line and I also got a FREE shot of neupogen while I was there. I rescheduled for tomorrow, so hopefully the counts are up to where they need to be then.

As for my PICC line, my arm isn't as sore as it was yesterday where it was installed, but it's kinda sore near my shoulder. The nurse thinks that this is probably where both the central line and the PICC line got "stuck". It's just a little tender - I can deal with it.

Good stuff of today - Lori came to spend time with me during my treatment and since I didn't have one, we had a loooooong lunch instead and had a good conversation! Sweet!

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 2.5
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.2
12.0 16.0
HCT 34.9
34.0 47.0
Platelets 161
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 0.9
1.5 7.5

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ouch that hurt.... AGAIN!

I was sooooooo nervous and scared about today. It's been on my mind all week and I don't know what I was so stressed about. I guess the thought of going in for a new line almost made it feel like I was starting all over again. I know I'm not, but my mind must be playing tricks on me. Either way, today didn't go as well as it could have, but I came out okay after all was said and done.

I went in for the procedure to install a PICC line in my arm to replace my central line that was in my chest. (These are the ports where I receive my chemotherapy - but my central line came out last week). Today's procedure was not considered a surgery and a nurse was able to perform the install. It reminded me a lot of the surgery I had for the first one and in case you don't remember how well that went (not) - then here's a link to that blog entry -Minor complications... Ouch! That hurts!

Here's what happened...

I went in at 1pm and didn't have to do anything really to prep for it except have breakfast and lunch and be hydrated. Easy enough. They used a sterile procedure so I was all covered with those blue drapes - three of them. My left arm was extended out so that the nurse could poke at me like they do when they give you an IV. Then she administered some numbing agent - which felt like itty bitty bee stings over and over. After that she pushed the PICC line tube through my arm and I could feel it go up towards my shoulder - not so much painful as a weird feeling. And then the line went towards my neck and kept getting "stuck" on something (that kinda hurt). She had to call another nurse in. They pulled it out and pushed it back in, and pulled it out and pushed it back in. This took at least an hour until one of the nurses thought they got it where they wanted it to be. The first nurse wasn't as sure of it.

I went for an X-Ray which confirmed - it didn't go right. The line went towards my other shoulder instead of down to my heart. Sound familiar? A repeat of my first surgery. So I had to go back and have them wiggle the wire in and out again. This time it really hurt. The numbing agent was wearing off and my arm was bruised and hurting where the line went in - right at the crease of it. My platelets are low, so the nurse said that affected the bleeding (increasing it a bit) - and so she applied a LOT of pressure too. I felt like crying and I swear I had tears in my eyes, but I didn't cry. I just said "ouch and owwwwwwwch" a lot.

I have a dressing that completely covers about 10 inches of my arm. Tomorrow I will go in for my 9th chemo and they should change it. We'll see if it's as.... as big then.

I'm so tired, I could have slept at the dinner table - so I think I'm going to bed now. Just thought I'd give a quick update.

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 3.0
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.3
12.0 16.0
HCT 38.8
34.0 47.0
Platelets 140
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 0.7
1.5 7.5

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ooops. I think I broke it...

Okay, I didn't break it, but it doesn't work anymore. It's not even there anymore. Maybe you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about 'cause my last post probably didn't make any sense. I'm talking about my central line or "port". For those of you who haven't been graced with the view of two tubes sticking out of my chest - that is what my central line is... umm, was. It's where they hooked the chemo up when I go in for treatments. I guess there's a few reasons for this. One is because the medication would jack up my veins if it was administered directly. So maybe the doctor didn't use the term "jack up" but that's what I heard. Another reason is because I need to wear a pump (aka banana phone) for two days after treatment and that's what they hook that puppy up to.

Last week I had my stitches taken out and the port was being held in place by a stat lock (sticky thing). Unfortunately, yesterday when I went to change the stat lock and was cleaning the area, the tube slipped out - alot... This morning I called and they said I would have to go in to get it checked. Then I went to clean it again and it slipped even more. The nurse told me that it only had about another inch and the whole thing would have came out! That would have FREAKED-ME-OUT! Thank God that didn't happen.

So they took the whole central line out. No more tubes in my chest. Just a big ol' bandage that I have to wear for 24 hours. I had a choice to make after that. I could either go in and get another central line in the same place which would require surgery again. Or, since I have only 4 more treatments (that's right, I said four!) - that's considered "short term treatment" now and I can get a PICC Line. It's the same thing, just in my arm. I wasn't really psyched about either option. If you recall, my first surgery for the central line kinda went whacky and had to be done a 2nd time. And getting something in my arm just sounds weird. But it's all weird I guess. The nurse recommended the PICC, plus it will cost less than another surgery - so I'm going with that. And here's a plus - I'm without any line until next Tuesday when I get the install. Yay! I can't tell you how cool it will be to be without that plastic installation - even for a week!

So that's what's up with me. What's up with you? :o)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session VIII

Wella wella yeah. Just got back from my EIGHTH chemotherapy treatment. Yesssssss! That means I am now 2/3 of the way through! Only four more treatments! Yes, I'm psyched about that.

Today went well..... especially since I didn't get checked in until I had already been there for three hours. Here's what happened - when I got to the waiting room, there was no one at the desk (kinda weird cause there's usually two people there). So I put my check-in papers in the check-in basket and have a seat. Then my nurse for the day (Patty) came in and picked up my papers, commented that it was weird no one was there to check me in, and took me back for my blood draw. While she was doing that I told her that my port was kinda bothering me. It was hurting when the tubes moved - which is pretty often actually. So she checked it. There are three "points of entry". One is the main line into my chest. And two are stitches holding the port in place. The stitches are what were bothering me and they looked pretty red. She said "well, they aren't infected - but they are mad!" That made me laugh. I don't know why my stitches would be mad at me, not sure what I did. Anyway, it was decided to take out the stitches (ouch) and let that area heal. So I now have this sticky thing that has a clip to hold everything in place. Feels muuuuuuuch better. Doesn't look so great, but awe well.

Wow - did that make any sense? I'd put a picture up, but not sure anyone wants to see all that! hahaha!

What else? Well I guess on my last post I mentioned, I finally got my energy back. The 2nd week went well... much better than the first! I decided this week to go back to my old medication regimen and deal with the "jittery" side effects from the steroids instead of being knocked out for 5 days.

  • Wed 7/30 to ??? - zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • Tues 8/5 Pedicure! and then HH Birthday Celebration with Johnny
  • Wed 8/6 Hang out with Beth Roberts - a lil' bit of shopping!
  • Thu 8/7 Movie with Darren - Incredible Hulk
  • Fri 8/8 Lunch with my friend Lisa G and then - ROLLER DERBY w/Mondo, Marvin, Donna, Lisa R & Johnny! Fun!
  • Sat 8/9 My brother Mario's Summer BBQ - hangin' out with the family Rocks! But getting kinda worn down by this time...
  • Sun 8/10 Bridal Shower, BDay BBQ and then hangin' out with Yvette O
  • Mon 8/11 Darren's first day of school! 7th Grade! - Walk at the park with Beth R and then Starbucks... mmmmm - Lunch with Yvette S - BW3s w/Lindy, Brooke, Regina & Mondo. And the crazy balloon guy.
  • Tues 8/12 Walk at the park - Lunch with Fabian
PS - I died my hair black somewhere in between there...

Some pictures...
Matthew, me & Mondo

My cousin Dario & I went to PF Chang's before Comedy Works (Fri 8/1)

Jamiee & me - celebrating her brother Johnny's Bday

Johnny, getting a tan or blowing out candles. Happy Birthday!

Noticing the "good stuff" -
[x] Super Patty - She's an awesome nurse. She wasn't even supposed to do my blood draw, but she did it anyway. She's way attentive and responds to all my questions, requests and concerns.
[x] Company - My friend Linda Chisholm (from my small group) came and spent the day with me. It was awesome to catch up with her and hear about her trip to Sweden. And of course, she let me talk talk talk too. And she brought me lunch :o) Thanks Linda!
[x] Almost done - My chemo-friend Angelo was there and looked like he was doing better than last time. He only has one more treatment to go! Good for you Angelo!

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 9.1
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.1
12.0 16.0
HCT 35.7
34.0 47.0
Platelets 200
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 6.0
1.5 7.5

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

I'm back!

Whoa.... feeling a bit more energetic - FINALLY...

Yesterday I got up and dyed my hair. It's a mess. It's pink. Really pink now. Yikes. And then I got ready, not that I had anything to do, but still - I got ready. I made dinner for the family and even took a walk to the park. Yay!

Today I'm going downtown for a bit and then out for my friend Johnny's Birthday - and cause it's Tuesday. Tuesday's are terrific by the way.... Yay!

Hey, here's a pic I played with Photoshop on - quad coloring. But my hair is really pink like the upper left corner.... hahaha!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Soooooo tired...

This is how my day went...


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session VII

Here I am again... just got back from my 7th session. 12-11-10-9-8-7-6.... Not that I'm counting down or anything... :o)

You know, I've heard people say before that they can't stand hospitals. They have to be practically on their death bed to go in to see a doctor and they won't go visit anyone no matter what. I always thought "What's the deal? What's sooooo bad about hospitals?" But today, the SMELL of the hospital grossed me out so much I thought I would get sick. It almost made me want to cry just thinking I was going to have to spend 5 hours in it... I've never felt that way about it before. Guess I was just sensitive to it or something. Uck!

Other than that, everything went well. It took the usual hour+ to get my bloodcounts back, but they were all good. I talked to Dr Azar about this side effect I've had... for several days after my treatment I get this restless feeling in my legs and arms. Like I can't get comfortable sitting, standing or laying down. If I'm standing, I'm pacing back and forth. If I'm sitting, I'm kicking my legs back and forth. And if I'm laying down, I'm turning from side to side. It was getting on my nerves quite a bit... enough to ask her about it. Anyway, she said it's probably a side effect of the steroids I'm taking. So I am gonna try a different anti-nausea medication this week. Hopefully that does the trick.

Right now, I'm tired. Hot. And my tummy hurts... so yep, I'm 'bout to take a nap.... maybe.

Oh yeah, hadn't updated about last week, but it was great. I went to lunch - with my friend Yvette S and also with friends Sue and Crystal (who did the Relay for Life with me). Wednesday I went to lunch with my friend Eric and to a Rockies Game. And Friday to lunch with Mondo, Darren & my friend Lisa & her kids. Then we went to the zoo and met up with my nephew and his family. His son Josiah told me last week "auntie, I want to go to the zoo!" I also saw a couple of movies with Darren - WallE and Journey to the Center of the Earth. And then Friday night I got to do my 2nd "mini-make-a-wish". Mondo and I went to the Capital Grille downtown for a really nice dinner. We even ran into our friend Andrew who bought us dessert! mmmm... It was awesome!

My numbers -


Actual Low High
3.5 11.0
12.0 16.0
34.0 47.0
150.0 450.0
1.5 7.5

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Relay for Life

Argh, I've been slacking again! I meant to post about the Relay for Life over the weekend, but I guess I just vegged out instead - sorry! The thing is, I don't really know where to start... it was such an awesome night, I don't feel like I can do it justice.

Let's see... First I will go with who was there...

Me, my mom, my dad, Darren and Mondo. Mario, Karen, Sophia and Mateo. From Sun (work) Sue and Crystal. And unexpectedly a day before the relay I found out that my cousin Tommy was coming with his whole family - Tammy, Taylor, Matthew and Landon. That was a great surprise as Taylor is my little cousin who is also dealing with cancer and who I walked in honor of. And although I don't think it was in their original plan to stay the whole night, the kids were having such a good time - they did!

Over the night, we got lots of visitors too - My friend Brooke stopped by to play a few games with us. My favorite PA from Kaiser, Theresa, stopped by with her husband to see if there was anything we needed. My friend Debbie stopped by with Mercedes and Lexus to play some games and bring burritos! And somewhere along the way, my son met a friend - Eduardo - who hung out at our camp all night.

After opening ceremonies Taylor and I participated in the "Survivor Lap" with our special "Survivor TShirts". It rained as we made our way around and it was so cool to see everyone clapping the whole way around - just standing in the rain and cheering us on. Taylor is truly a survivor type - this girl has been through 9 intense months of treatment and she comes out ready to fight some more. She's beautiful, full of energy and smiles and she is inspiring to me. Taylor, you will always be in my thoughts and prayers!

If you have a chance, please visit her site too -

What next? Games. Taylor taught us a card game called "Mafia" that everyone really enjoyed. I could tell cause even when I was napping in the tent, I could hear them laughing so hard I thought surely someone was gonna pee their pants!

As it got dark, we made a couple more rounds and we looked at the beautiful tribute of luminarias. A luminaria is a paper sack with a candle in it and people bought them in honor or in memory of a loved one who has been touched by cancer. As we found Taylor's, my cousin Tommy (yes, we have the same name) said "I wonder where yours is" and I swear I got a tear in my eye when we found it. It really touched my heart that Taylor made a luminaria to honor me. It was beautiful.

There was a point in the night when me and my mom were at the camp alone with the kids. Eduardo, who was also wearing a survivor tshirt shared his story of his fight with leukemia since the young age of 4 (he's 15 now). It is so very hard to explain how it felt to hear these kids - they're just kids for heaven's sake! - talk so matter of factly about these experiences that no child should ever have to encounter. And what was it that they had to say in the end? Eduardo's desire is to collect toys to give to the hospital so that they can give out to other kids going through what he went through, cause he remembers that they did that for him. And Taylor was on the same wavelength - "Yes!" she said "I want to do gift baskets!" Such big hearts.

As for the walk - Darren had a blast. I can't believe the energy he had for it after spending the day at Elitch's, but he walked alot. And he even won a bingo game during one of the prize laps. Taylor stayed up all night and walked alot too. Even after that first lap she turned to me and said - let's do another.

This night was filled with so much love and support, it's really why I say I can't put it into words. If I could translate how big and full my heart feels, you would probably be reading forever. It was a great night. An awesome night, and I am so glad we did it. And I am so grateful for all of the people I have in my life and had with me to share that night with...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session VI

Guess what... I have GOOD NEWS! See how happy I am?!?!?!cheeeeeese!

I had my 6th of 12 treatments today. I am HALFWAY THROUGH! I don't know why, but I am really excited about that. I guess it's just another blessing I have to count that things have went so well so far. I still am positive and full of hope and what I think is really unexpected - HaPpY! You know what I did for my pre-chemo day? I went to the driving range with Scottie (pictures to come). I've never been before and I thought it was lots of fun. I even dreamt about keeping my wrists straight next time! I also met up with my friend Lisa and we had lunch at The Broker - never been there before... and then in the evening, had dinner with my friend Nina at La Sandia (another new restaurant). Three new things with three great friends all in one day - it was awesome!

Today, my mom and Darren took me to chemo and picked up lunch for me then headed out. It was the first time I stood there alone during treatment (don't get mad Sheila! It was unexpected!) and after I read a "Soap Opera Digest" - I fell asleep. That made the time go by pretty fast... but really, I was there from 10am - 3pm. My friend Angelo wasn't there, so I didn't chat with anyone. I hope he's okay - have to check on him next.

Anyway, no nap for me now. I have to go pick up T-Shirts and info for the Relay for Life we're doing this weekend. I am sooooo psyched about that too! This week we made breakfast burritos to sell at work (thanks Mario) to raise a bit more money for the cause. So, again - if you want to check details out, they're posted online at And here's a favor I have - if you're the praying type - please pray that I will have energy this weekend! I'm gonna need it!

Added after first post...
Went to go pick up our stuff for the walk and then went with Mondo and some friends for dessert. It was our friend's bday and he bought us dessert. Yummm.... Here are the pix I said I would post... click for a larger view...

My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 13.1
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.4
12.0 16.0
HCT 35.9
34.0 47.0
Platelets 168
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 9.2
1.5 7.5

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Time for some Summer Pix....

Thought I would give a quick update for those of you who'd like to know what's been going on with me. I've felt pretty good this week and have done some 'fun stuff' with my family...

Tuesday, 7/8 - Took Darren, my godson Adrian and my niece Aubreyana to Adventure Golf and Go-Karts. Then we came home and played Uno & Monopoly.

Wednesday, 7/9 - WDP Board Meeting which turned out to be fun. I really like the group of people, they're easy to talk to and they make me laugh. It's exciting to know that we have approval to go ahead with the 2nd Middle School. YAY!

Thursday, 7/10 - Lunch with Scottie! Which was good to catch up... unfortunately, my back went out right after lunch. Ouch. So I took it easy for the rest of the day.

Friday, 7/11 - Feeling much better! Took Darren and met up with Mondo & Tyler at Belmar to see "Hellboy II". Did you know first movie of the day is only $5.50? What a deal. That afternoon, we (mom, dad, Darren & Mondo) went to Pueblo to visit family. We got to see my dad's aunt Jenny - she's 94! She looked like she was doing pretty good. I met up with my cousin Maria and we went out for a Red Beer (mmmm) or two. Short visit, but it was nice to see a few people we hardly ever get to see.

Saturday, 7/12 - Left Pueblo early to get to Canon City to purchase tickets for the 12:30 train ride in the Royal Gorge. It was a two hour ride and the kids really seemed to have fun. They got a big kick out of seeing the rafters and especially when they waived back to them. After the train ride, we went up to the top of the gorge. I stayed in the van and took a nap - I was not going near the gorge - way too afraid of heights.... but Mondo, Mario & his whole family and Darren walked across. Yikes. AND THEN, after that, we went to Pizza Madness in town and met up with my nino (Godfather) and some cousins. That was really cool 'cause I hardly ever see my nino and he is the best.

Anyway, it was a pretty great weekend and it truly felt like we were on vacation even though we were only two hours away. Needless to say, I was exhausted when we got home last night. We all were.

So, anyway - I thought it was time for some pix...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Knocked. Me. Out.

Wholly cow! This past treatment kinda knocked me out!

My "norm" has been to come home, blog and then sleep after a treatment. This week, I didn't - I had to run an errand so that cut into my nap time. I don't know if that is what knocked me out of whack, but I couldn't catch up. I was so tired - I felt like all I could do is sleep whenever I could.

On Thursday morning, I did manage to catch a flick - "Hancock" - with mom, dad and Darren... On Friday, I went with Mondo to a BBQ for the 4th of July, but just ended up laying down on the grass with my eyes closed... then off to the Outlaws game, which I don't know how - but I slept through it! I did manage to wake up for the fireworks though! Saturday - I rested all day - and missed Kristina's Bday bash :o( - which brought me to today...

It felt good to make it to church this morning. Had a nice lunch with Mondo, Darren and friends - Beth and Dave and their new baby Zane, who I got to hold for the first time today. He loves me.

This evening I went with friends to the Spaghetti Factory and then to Comedy Works. It was a great evening and I don't know if it's ever felt so good to get some energy back.
Awe well, Cheers to a new week!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session V

Just a quick note about my treatment today...

Everything went well, but it was a long day. I went in at 10:15am and Dr Azar saw me early. Then my blood draw went in and as usual, took an hour to get results.
My numbers -


Actual Low High
WBC 13.0
3.5 11.0
HGB 12.7
12.0 16.0
HCT 36.7
34.0 47.0
Platelets 243
150.0 450.0
Neutrophils 10.3
1.5 7.5

While I waited, I talked to my friend Angelo and his wife. He is a couple treatments ahead of me, plus doing the trial drug on (my) off week. Poor guy has really bad side effects on his fingers. They are dry and cut. His mood has changed and his taste buds too. I thank God that mine haven't gotten that bad and keep praying that if and when they do, I can still keep a positive attitude.

No problem with that today. Rebecca S (from my bible study group) came to keep me company. She brought me lunch - Chinese food, yummm and we chatted the day away with Angelo. I know I could take my treatment alone and it wouldn't bother me much as I would probably sleep through it mostly. But it is reallllllllly nice to have company. It seems to make the day go by so much faster.

Well, that's all for now. I don't have the terrible headache I usually do, but my jaw hurts and I am tried so I am going to go lay down. Hope you all have a great holiday weekend! Happy Independence Day!


PS - Thanks to those of you who responded to my requests for CELL PHONES to support the Diana Price-Fish Foundation. Please keep in mind this is an ongoing need and your phones can be donated through a link at the site at any time.

And I hope you'll remember that I have a team that will be participating in the American Cancer Society RELAY FOR LIFE. Please review the links noted to see if you can offer your support for either of these worthy causes.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A mini-make-a-wish

Last night I took my first "mini-make-a-wish".

That's what I call it at least. I was accepted to a program offered by the Diana Price-Fish Foundation that allows adults actively dealing with cancer to "play hookie" from cancer once a month by doing a fun event. For this month's event, I got tickets to the musical Sweeny Todd that is playing at the Buell. I love doing stuff like that!

First we went to a Czech restaurant on Broadway and I had - I can't remember what it was called, but it was good. Mondo ordered a fried cheesesteak, and when it came out it was a thick slice of cheese with a layer of a little piece of ham, breaded and deep fried! He said it was gooood though and thought, it would be ideal if someone cut them into bite size sticks and served them with marinara sauce. Funny guy!

Well, that's it for now. Hope ya all are ready to enjoy a nice summer weekend!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Should have been....

You should have been getting your driver's license, going to proms, and graduating from high school. You should have known your niece and nephew light up my day when they say "I love you auntie Tommy". You should have got a chance to meet your cousins, and maybe even babysit a time or two ;o) You should be in all of our family pictures!! It's been a lifetime. Nine years is a lifetime of changes and things you should have been able to do. I miss you guys so much, but I know you're always with me too.

In loving memory of Leslie, Katheryn and Becca

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How 'bout some Orange Chicken?

Just a quick post to let you all know about my Friday night...

My favorite comedian (and I have seen many, many, many comedians) - Jo Koy was in town and doing a show at Comedy Works. Matthew got tickets and a group of about 19 together to go. We went to dinner at PF Changs first and then we headed on over for the 10pm show.

I've seen Jo Koy twice before. The first time he was touring with Carlos Mencia on the Punisher Tour in Sept 06. Mondo and I both said, "we've got to see this guy again." In May 07, when I found out he was coming to Comedy Works - we jumped on that with a big group too. If you get a chance, look up his "Orange Chicken" skit. He is so freaking funny!

He seems really to appreciate the audience and even stayed late while tabs were being added up. He probably hung out an extra half hour or so and then stayed around to sign DVD's! Well, it was a good night... and... I got a hug after the show!

But, I wore myself out too. I was one tired chickee yesterday. Today too. Ah, it was worth it!

Friday, June 20, 2008

A really good day...

So, I had a pretty awesome day...

First, I woke up at noon... nice. Then Christina H came over and we went to Heritage Square for some sun and mountain climbing exercise :o) I used to work at the Alpine Slide, so we walked up to the top and I said hi to my friend Debbie who is the manager there. I didn't just used to work for her, I knew her whole family. Her sister Claudia used to be one of my high school counselors and she had introduced me to her brother and sister-in-law who hired me as a nanny way back when I was just a year out of high school. Anyway, Debbie ended up giving me a bunch of tickets for the slide - FREE. Kristina and I took one trip, and I am going to use the rest to take up Darren and hopefully a few of my nieces and nephews. We also took some of those goofy photo prop sets. Click on the thumbnail for a bigger view of the collage.

Next, we headed over to the Coors Brewery for a 'short tour' - which basically means you skip the tour and head on to the FREE Beer. They give you a wristband which has punches on it to allow you up to three drinks. I tried a Blue Moon - I've heard so much about them. And also had a Root Beer with no ICE. I think if I lived in Golden, I might do that tour way more often!

After that, we went to Jose O'Shea's for their Happy Hour. FREE Taco Bar with the purchase of a drink. Even lemonade. So yep, we had a drink and some tacos, and chimichangas (I think), and enchiladas, and watermelon. Wholly cow! And this was just a few hours before I was supposed to meet some friend for dinner! The tab for this Happy Hour came out to $5.25! Can you believe it? What a deal!

I dropped Kristina off and finally met her nana that she talks so much about. Too bad, I was in a bit of a hurry to go and meet my Band of Sisters by 7pm at PF Changs. No, I didn't get a FREE dinner there - but that's okay. It was fun. Lot's of good conversation with my "sisters". It seems like it's been a while so it was really nice to catch up. Half of my band is going to Estonia next month, so this is probably our last get together until they get back. However, we did talk about a summer vacation to Panama next year. I am really psyched to think that we can do that. Fun huh?

Well - that was a really good day. I am soooooo tired, but here I am - making collages to post a blog. It was that fun! Hope you all are getting ready to have a great weekend yourselves.

PS - don't forget, still seeking support on....
CELL PHONES for the Diana Price-Fish Foundation and
The American Cancer Society RELAY FOR LIFE
Click links above for more information.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chemotherapy - Session IV

Okay, not sure if you noticed - but I'm slacking. Partially because I wanted to keep my pleas for CELL PHONES and attention to the American Cancer Society RELAY FOR LIFE at the top of the queue. (Please review the links noted to see if you can offer your support for either of these worthy causes). And partially 'cause I didn't really feel inspired to write while I was sick.

But since I had a chemo appointment today, I thought I would share for those of you who were wondering how that went... and for my records too.

I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous that my cold might have put a damper in the plans for today. Maybe effect my bloodcounts in a negative way that wouldn't allow me to receive treatment. I went ahead and took my shot of neupogen (the WBC Booster) on Monday - and it turns out that that seemed to do the trick! Neutrophils were where they needed to be and I have received my 4th chemo treatment! YAY! I am now 1/3 of the way through!!!!

To think that the last one marked 1/4 of the way and then just one more changes it to 1/3 of the way. Mondo said the math is just going to get weird on the next one - so I probably won't note the fractional measure, but then again - maybe I will.

As for the appointment, it went well. Results from blood draw came back within the hour. My appointment wasn't until 10:45am, so it was a late day. But I had good company again. Kristina H (visiting from NM) made it there despite my bad directions and she brought me lunch! Imperial Dragon - yummmmm. And then Jessica (from my Band of Sisters) stopped by too. It was nice to chat and catch up.

Kristina brought me home and we were going to watch the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, but turns out it was deleted from our DVR. So I will need to see if I can find a recording somewhere or wait for the DVD release. I was pretty tired though, so I'm not sure how far I would have got through it :o) Since the movie plan was nixed, I went ahead and crashed on the couch - right in front of the AC ahhh... and I didn't wake up until about 9pm. Nice nap.

So that's the story. I'm doing all right and my cold is pretty much gone... a lingering sniffle here and there, but nothing unmanageable.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Relay for Life

I've decided to take part in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life. It's an event that brings together the whole community and helps raise funds for the fight against this disease. I know you care about cancer, too, and I'd love for you to join me as part of my Relay team.

At the event, we'll camp out overnight, walk around the track, and meet lots of new people. There is an incredible tribute to cancer survivors and caregivers that starts off the night and a moving ceremony honoring those who have fought the disease. I have heard that the Relay is unlike anything else you'll ever do. It's a night full of fun, hope, and remembrance.

You can get more information about Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society by clicking the links below.

My Team Page
My Personal Page

Click on the names below to visit members of the team so far -

Darren Karen
Mondo Mario
Tina Mateo


I would like to walk in honor of two people who have helped me beyond their knowledge in my daily dealings with cancer. These kids and their families who have openly shared their stories... their lives. By reading their blogs I find inspiration to not just fight cancer or deal with chemo - but to LIVE. To enjoy life to the fullest and to gain strength from the friends and family who surround me and love me. And to keep a positive attitude no matter what challenges occur.

My cousin, Taylor Rivera, diagnosed just under a year ago at the age of 12 with cancer of the peritoneum. Please visit her and see her story at

And Coleman Larson. I don't even know this kid - never met him. But I found his story and I read up on it as often as his mom posts for him. Coleman's (cancer) story began on Sept. 21, 2006 when he and his twin brother Caden were only 2 and 1/2 years old! What an amazing kid. What an amazing family! Please visit Team Larson at
CP Name: ColemanScott