Sunday, October 31, 2010

Countdown to NO Drain!!

So...11 hours until I get this drain out of my side!  WOOHOO!!! :)  I'm down to 20 cc/day which is way below what I had to be to get it out.   We made this doctors appt at the perfect time.  It will be such a relief to have it out and hopefully I will be able to start some of the more "challenging" exercises (such as lifting my arm STRAIGHT up into the air...its harder than you think).

This weekend has been a lot of fun.  I had a few visitors that were able to distract me from the decisions I'll have to make soon...and I'm almost over my cold. :)  My family also carved pumpkins today and I had SO much fun seeing all the kids dressed up for Halloween.

I'm feeling pretty good and have a lot more energy since my cold has gone away. I'm still nervous about the decision.  I feel that I've basically made up my mind to do the treatment, but not everyone in the family is so sure.  There are so many side effects and the long term effects aren't known yet.  My only reasoning is I feel like I have to do SOMETHING.  I cannot just let myself sit and wait and the interferon is the only option I have right now. I know the treatment will be rough but I feel like its worth it if it gives me a better chance of either postponing a reaccurance or stopping one completely.  We may still get another opinion to see if there are any other treatment options if the doctor can get me in within the next week, maybe two.  If not I need to start the interferon soon so that when the month of high dose is over I can go back to school.   One good thing we found out about interferon is that if for some reason I react horribly with it I can stop whenever needed.  That's comforting to know.

(Although I feel I have made my mind up there is still a chance of a change in plans so don't think of this as the final answer. I still don't know yet)

I love you all and thank you so much for the thoughts and prayers.
Get excited for no more drain! :)

Friday, October 29, 2010


Today I went to the oncologist.  Found out a couple of not so good things, but overall this doctor is definitely the best I've been to so far.  He is very honest about things he knows and doesn't and is leaving the decision for further treatment all up to me.  Telling me the pros and cons, stories of success and failure.  I'm very thankful for that.  I did find out that the cure rate is a bit lower than I originally thought, so there is a higher chance that I will end up doing the interferon treatment.  We have been given maybe one other option, but it doesn't sound very realistic. We are thinking about getting another opinion, but the decision has to be made very quickly to make sure that I can get back to school by next semester.  As many of you know I am not a very good decision prayers for that would help a lot. :)

I'm feeling nervous.  While everything came out clear in the lymph node dissection, I've had to come to the realization that it is still not over.  This is a struggle that I'm having to deal with mentally more than anything.  I have to be cautious from now on, but I'm not going to let this define my life.  Giving my worries to God for peace is one of the things I've been learning through out this whole process and don't plan on forgetting it now.

On a lighter note, I'm getting my drain out on MONDAY!! :)  SO excited! haha, the fluid has stayed at 30cc in 24 hours for the past 2 days.  Keep up the good work lymph nodes!  I'm slowly getting of the pain meds too.  Now only taking one advil every 5ish hours.  Still working on the flexibility in my arm and also having a bit more feeling in my arm.  The armpit has nothing, but from my elbow to my shoulder there is some feeling now.

I love you all! Thank you for all the love, prayers, and support!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Today was just as lazy as yesterday. I'm determined to get rid of this cold!  Its interesting that my left lymph nodes in my neck are swollen and my right ones aren't.  They are working extra hard now that my left nodes under my arm are gone.

The scar under my arm is doing better every day, but last night and this morning both my mom and I have pulled on my drain by accident.  Its hurting a lot worse right now but its still in and functioning.  The fluid is still just as slow as it was yesterday!  Just a couple more days and I will have this thing out of me!! :)

I go to the oncologist tomorrow at 1:30.  I don't really know what to expect but I'm not too worried.  My parents and I are writing down questions to ask him.  What's the prognosis without treatment? What's the prognosis with treatment?  What treatments are out there?  What trial treatments are there? What are the side effects? How long would I have to take them? What to look for in the future so that I could catch any other cancer early?  AHHH...ok.  I am a bit nervous.  Too many questions and too many scenarios.  I've been enjoying the little time I've had to not worry about all of this and just recover.

Still saying lots of prayers for peace and guidance in making my decision.
Thank you all for your love and support!  You have no idea how much its helped.
Love you!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Today has been a very lazy day.  I'm still feeling sick and tired. I'm at the runny nose part of the cold....SO many tissues! haha.

My arm is doing well; still seeing little improvements.  Last night I was able to sleep on my right side!  I would much rather do that than be on my back so I slept a whole lot better.  My drain seems to be slowing down today!! This morning it was at 15 and right now its probably between 5 and 10!  That would be a miracle if all of the sudden it dropped to 30 in 24 hours!  If it keeps up like this for a couple more days then I am sure I'll get the drain out by Monday. Hooray! :)

One blessing about being sick right now is that I'm not as antsy to get out of the house and do things. (I couldn't anyway because I still can't drive) I'm just really tired and would rather stay home and sleep. Yay for naps!

I hope everyone is having a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sick and Better

Last night I got a headache and today I woke up with a stuffy nose, headache, and sore throat...not too excited about it.  I don't feel horrible other than that, mostly tired, so I'm hoping with lots of vitamins and LOTS of sleep, I will get over this fast.

BETTER NEWS! I just realized today how much better my arm is doing.  I have a much greater range of motion than I did before and with much less shooting pains.  It feels more really tight than anything now. (doing the things I'm allowed to do with my drain in)  Hardly any shooting pains when I shrug my shoulders, pinch my shoulder blades together, and raise my arms shoulder height.  WOOHOO! :)

My drain is still filling as fast as ever, but hopefully it will slow down by my appointment next Monday so I can get it removed.

Still needing lots of prayers for guidance in my decision on what, if any, treatment I need still need to do.
With Love

Monday, October 25, 2010


The past few days have been great!  I went to IU Saturday night and stayed until Sunday. It was SO great seeing everyone and being back.  THANK YOU to my friends who brought me there and took me back home. I still can't drive yet, so I felt very thankful to be able to go.  A lot of my energy is coming back, thank goodness!  I am still in pain, but dealing with it much better.  Today I'm visiting friends at Purdue!  My parents are a bit worried about me trying to do too many things, but I'm feeling pretty good still.

My drain is still in and will be for another week or so.  I keep hoping the fluid will slow down, but so far it hasn't enough.

Feeling very blessed with all the friends I have supporting me.  I love you all!
Have a wonderful week!
And its my brother's birthday today, so if you see him don't forget to say happy birthday! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

I'm feeling much better today.  Yesterday I was able to go to target w/ my dad and then we went out to dinner.  Today I was able to go to Lafayette with my mom to visit my cousin.  I'm getting out a lot more now and for a lot longer.  My arm is not swelling anymore when its resting at my side which is a huge blessing.  I found out that with my drain in my doctor was wrong and I'm not actually supposed to be lifting my arm as high with my drain in.  I am hurting much less now that I've stopped.

I was going to IU today but couldn't, I hope I can get there soon!!

Thank you all again for your thoughts and prayers.
I love you all SO much!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Today I opened the windows and enjoyed the beautiful weather!  I've been reading a lot and I even made it out with my mom to the store, bank, and post office.  I'm also knitting a scarf.  Probably about a third of the way there, its taking a lot longer than I thought it would.

I'm still trying really hard to inch my way up the wall, getting my arm to reach higher and higher.  It hurts SO bad when I do, kind of frustrating.  Hopefully I will see some improvement soon.  The feeling in my arm is still slowly coming back but I get shooting pain down my arm and through my chest when I make certain movements.  I probably feel it more because I'm trying to move it a bit more each day.  

I'm very excited for the next days because my dad will be home tomorrow and friday while my mom and Sam will be home Friday-Tuesday for their fall breaks.  It will be nice to have people home throughout the day.  :)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Step by step

Today was a good day.  Pretty boring, but I'm starting to feel more independent.  I was able to take Beau for a short walk today, when over the weekend I couldn't make it 10 yards down the street w/o being in so much pain I had to stop. I put on a shirt with sleeves today for the first time since the surgery, a loose one, but it still has sleeves!  I also have just enough flexibility to successfully change my drain all by myself. :)  Its the little things that make a HUGE difference.  One thing I'm still really struggling with is getting my arm up in the air.  It is so painful to try and even get to 90 degrees. This is going to be a slow and steady step by step process.  I am going to try physical therapy soon to help speed up the recovery time and do it safely, so I don't mess up the stitching or the drain.  The feeling in parts of my arm are starting to come back.  Especially around my elbow (thank goodness!) the only problem now is that the nerves are VERY sensitive and just the slightest touch hurts. I don't mind it too much because I'm so thankful I have feeling there again.

My appointment with a new oncologist is set for October 29, he should be able to tell me my options for treatments and what he recommends in my case.  Honestly I'm not to excited about that part.  Every doctor I've talked to has different opinions and they all contradict each other.  Hopefully we will get some sort of straight answer that will help my family and I make a more educated decision.

I'm feeling good. I'm happy I'm improving, but starting to get a bit restless.  Its been hard for me to get to sleep the past few nights and I think its because there's really not much I can do actively at home.  Maybe I'll try riding the stationary bicycle.  I can't wait until I can drive again.  Hopefully not too much longer!!

Thank you again for all the thoughts and prayers!!
I appreciate them SO much and I am feeling each one.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Post Surgery Appt

Its been 1 week since my surgery.  This morning I went to see my surgeon to make sure that everything was looking ok and to find out when I'm getting my drain removed.  He said that everything looked great and I was healing up wonderfully.  Hopefully some of the feeling will come back in my arm but he can't promise how much.  I was also told that I needed to be able to lift my arm all the way up into the air by the next time I see him.  (Right now its just at a 90 degree angle.  SO STIFF!) I'll do exercises everyday so hopefully I'll get there soon.
We made my appointment to get the drain taken out 2 weeks from today but depending on how much fluid is coming out per day will determine if I can get it out sooner or if it will have to be later.
Prayers that its sooner! haha

It is starting to look like I may still need the interferon treatment, but until I talk with my oncologist I won't know for sure.  Its going to be a very hard decision so prayers that I make the correct one would be SO appreciated too.

I'm feeling better each day and can't wait to fully recover.  Patience and lots of baby steps.

Thank you so much for all the love I am feeling!
I hope you all know how loved you are too.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Vicodin and Visitors and Car Rides

This weekend I've been so blessed with visitors taking time out of their day to just come over and spend from a few minutes to a few hours with me.  Each one of those mean SO much to me. I know that vicodine doesn't make me the most interesting of all the people you could visit, but I truly appreciate it.  

Another thing I did this weekend was go to St. Vincent to an informational meeting about how to avoid lymphedema (swelling of the arm after a lymphnode dissection).  The meeting was very educational.  I learned that I have to stay at a healthy weight, wear a fitted sleeve on airplaines, and not get my blood pressure taken in that arm.   I also learned that any cut or scrape on my left arm can very quickly become infected because the lack of lymphnodes.  The meeting was great.  Getting to the meeting/coming home was a different story.  The vicodine makes car rides VERY unpleasant.  For future reference, if you sometimes feel car sick do not ride in a car and take vicodine at the same time.  I decided to deal with a little more pain today so that I didn't have that problem.

Overall I am feeling better each day. Hopefully this coming week I will be sleeping less and doing much more.  

Thank you so much for the thoughts and prayers! 

I hope that you all have a wonderful week!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Amazing News! :)

I got the results back from this past surgery! I had 22 lymph nodes removed from under my left arm.  Out of those 22 lymph nodes not one of them tested positive for cancer!  I am all clean!!! :)  The only positive lymph node was the one out of 3 that they found in the first surgery.  What a relief!

The next step now is to talk to the oncologist and see what, if any, treatments would help to make sure the cancer never comes back.

Thank you so much for all the thoughts and prayers.  God is a Healer.

I love you all!  Its all praises for me today :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010


Today (gross I know) I washed my hair for the first time since Monday!! Ahhhhh  It feels SO wonderful and clean!!! :)  With this drain in it is not easy to shower or wash your hair so I when a dear friend came over to visit, I roped her into helping me wash my hair in the kitchen sink.  WHAT A FRIEND! She also brought her guitar here and we sang worship songs together.  It brought me to tears singing together praising Him.  I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend the afternoon.
I'm getting better at stripping the tube and measuring the fluids. It has now changed from a reddish color to more yellow, which is a good sign...not as much bleeding.  This is the first day I've spent without my parents home.  It is very humbling realizing how much I have to rely on people right now to do the smallest things, like lift something or even open my medicine bottle.   So far today I've only taken one vicodin at a time instead of two.  That is helping me stay a bit more awake and alert.  The pain is still there, but its getting more bearable.

I want to thank everyone for all the letters, messages, visits, meals, prayers, thoughts, ect.   anything and everything you have done for my family.  We feel SO blessed.

Sending love and thanks

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I've been home for one full day now and am trying my best to get enough rest.  The pain medicine is helping with that, I've been taking about 2-3 hour naps throughout the day.  The drain under my arm is a bit annoying but my mom has been wonderful in helping me with it.  She even sewed a pocket into an old shirt to make sure it wouldn't pull too much and come out.
I've been getting to spend some amazing time with family and I'm so thankful for that.
Hopefully in the next few days I'll be able to slow down on the pain meds and be a bit more alert during the day.

We are hoping to get the results from the surgery back early next week.  After that we will know a bit more about what, if any, treatment I will be using.

Thank you again for all the prayers and support.  Much love!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Its Over!

I can't believe my surgery is over! It has taken so long to get to this point and it is a huge relief not to have that hanging over me.
 I went in for surgery at about 3:30 and woke up around 5- 5:30 I would say.  I had the best nurses in the world!  And couldn't have been more thankful for that.  Once I woke up, I was pretty awake.  I was in some pain but tried to ignore it and focus on drinking and eating...since I hadn't had anything since midnight the night before. I only got down a fourth of a graham cracker and 2 bites of soup before I started feeling nauseous, so I was given a large dose of pain meds and some anti nausea medicine which knocked me out for a good 2-3 hours.  I woke up feeling much better and at just a tad more.  Then i was able to work up enough energy to walk around the hallway once. I also figured out that I have some numbness (that was a possibility) in my left arm from my elbow to my shoulder. A VERY weird feeling and we are still not sure if it will come back or not...only time will tell. After that I basically slept the rest of the night, just being woken up a couple times by the nurses to empty the lymph fluids from my tube.

This morning the doctor came in at around 8:30 and gave me a run through on how to work the tube and the incision under my arm.  I took some more pain meds that put me to sleep for a few more hours, then around 11-11:30 got to go home.  It feels great to be home I'm getting up more a little at a time and eating a bit more too.  My parents are my angels.  They have been so great changing the fluid and getting me food or water or anything I would possibly need.

I am SO thankful for all the texts, messages, calls, visits...ect.  The love I'm feeling from everyone is overwhelming.  Thank you for everything.

God is good.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Surgery Date!

Today I have the complete lymph node dissection of my left underarm.  I'm a bit nervous and very hungry! haha, I think the hardest part is not eating. ;)  I stay in the hospital for 23 hours after the surgery, so I'll spend one night in the hospital.  Goodbye lymphnodes!

Prayer requests: MY dog got very very sick last night and my parents were up all night with him.  We took him to the vet early this morning and still haven't heard what is wrong.  Pray that my parents will have peace.  With worries for my surgery plus their lack of sleep and worries for my dog they are overwhelmed.
Doctors - that they are rested and ready with calm and steady hands
Me - nerves and a quick recovery

Prayers are what I need more than anything right now.  I will let you know as soon as I find out anything else that can be done to help.  Thank you so much for being so willing.
I love you!

So we don't look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen.  For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.  2 Corinthians 4:18

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Getting Ready

Last night and today were probably the first times that I've finally accepted...for sure...that this surgery is actually going to take place.  I am nervous at times, but when I remember that God is in control instead of me, I am able to stop worrying so much and just look forward to getting this over with and done.

I went to IU this weekend for a bit before the surgery.  I loved seeing friends! but...I think the longer I am at home and the more time I spend building a life for myself here the harder it gets to go.  It almost feels as if I don't quite fit into either situation, but i'm starting to fit better at home.  For now at least.  I can't wait to get back next semester when I am able to relate a little bit better with taking classes, living in the house, ect...

Overall I'm feeling pretty good.  SUPER SUPER SUPER ready to get this over with!

Prayers for peace would be greatly appreciated for both myself and my family.
Thank You SO much for everything you all have done for me.  I am so thankful for the love and support. ....I feel like I say that a lot, so sorry.  I don't really know what else to say because I really mean it.  I hope it comes off as strong as I want it to.
I love you all!!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Importance of Friends

I had a great day spent working and cooking for and hanging out with friends from AGD. :)  I feel so thankful for the friends I have and can't wait to go to IU tomorrow and get my fix of friends before my surgery.  It is wonderful to have friends I can turn to when I'm hurting and distract me from all of the crazy things going on.

Just one weekend between me and surgery.  I honestly can't believe it is actually going to happen.  Its taken SO long for the doctors to come to a conclusion.  But I am lucky, there are still lots of people out there waiting for answers and I'm so thankful I have one.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Today I got to sub again in the life skills room!  I love it SO much and am learning a lot too!  When I got home I was also surprised with a present...a live strong t-shirt and a signed Newsweek Magazine with an article on living with cancer by Lance Armstrong himself.  WOW!!  I am so thankful for the support from everyone!

I am feeling pretty good, loving the regular schedule of a job.  Still a bit nervous, but realizing that this isn't in my control, its in His.  That takes a lot of courage to let go sometimes, but it gives an amazing amount of comfort and peace.

Live Strong everyone! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Graduating On Time

The last two days I've had time to visit with people at IU and go to my advising appointments.  I learned that I should be able to (with a little bit of summer school), be able to keep my 2 majors and still graduate on time.  That is a huge relief!  :)

Surgery is still on for Monday at 3.  I can't wait to get this over with! Feeling a bit nervous, but very thankful for the love I've gotten from all of you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Best Day Ever!

Today was my first day substitute teaching! :)  I helped at the life skills room and enjoyed it SO much!  The kids were wonderful as were the teachers helping me.  It felt amazing that I was doing something useful and productive for once.  I can't wait sub more this week! Then hopefully after surgery and treatments I will be able to continue.  I am also going to IU just tonight and tomorrow. I can't wait to see my bible study girls! I am also visiting with my advisors to figure out next semester and the rest of the time I'm at IU.
Peace and Love!

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Today was filled with working at church with a high school youth group, then taking many of them to the renaissance fair to some food and fun.  I got to eat dinner tonight with some of my small group girls from senior year and watch the colts game (SO close!).  It was great seeing everyone.

I don't know why, but I'm feeling more and more nervous for this surgery.  I thought it would be easier the second surgery knowing already some of what will happen, but the date is kind of looming right now.  Not a fun feeling.

I pray everyone has a great start to their week!
Lots of Love

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Today was a pretty lazy day.  I did SO much enjoy reading the book my cousin wrote, One Step at a Time.  It was phenomenal.  The weather was cold and rainy so sitting inside and reading was the perfect thing to do. It is still hard for me to enjoy slowing down completely. I cannot wait for next week when I get to substitute teach!  A schedule, even for just a week, will be wonderful.
I also babysat tonight for a family that I've known for years now.  The dad went through almost exactly the same thing I am going through now, so it is always very nice and reassuring talking to him.  It helps me to prepare for what is ahead.  I think it is so crazy the people God puts in your life when you need it most.

I'm feeling nervous for the surgery, but trying to just be excited about the things happening this week like substitute teaching and visiting IU.  :)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Slow Me Down

I am listening to a song with the lyrics "Oh won't You take my hand and lead me, slow me down...I need You to slow me down."  I have realized today how busy I let my life get throughout high school and college.  I LOVE being busy and I feel somewhat "useless" if I'm not doing something.  But sitting with the windows open, feeling the breeze, looking at the blue sky and listening to music WITHOUT a list of things that must be done is as soon as possible is so freeing.  I feel like the better part of this time at home, when I've had the free time to slow down and stop worrying about busy schedules I have just started worrying about how to fill the free time.  I do not plan on becoming a lazy bum and completely stop the things I am doing, but hopefully I won't take the free time I have been given for granted and sit back and enjoy it.  The circumstance isn't the greatest, but might as well make the best of it.

I found out the surgery date today.  Monday October 11th at 3pm.  I'm nervous, but definitely more than ready to get this process started.

If you find any free time at all, slow down and ENJOY IT.
So much love!!