Monday, November 29, 2010


Mondays always seem a to come with headaches.  Probably because I've just been off the medicine for 2 days and my body's getting used to being back on it.  Earlier today was great and I visited with people at my church and went to the mall and physical therapy.  I can raise my arm almost all the way up into the air now!
I have a couple prayer requests...the lady who started interferon the same day as me is having to drive 3 hours each day to get her interferon and is extremely tired and also just found a bump on her arm that had to be removed and tested.  Please pray for her and another lady that started interferon today.

Thank you!
I love you all!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feeling Good

Today I went to church then visited with people at home.  I am so thankful to everyone who has taken time out of their day to come visit! It makes my time at home so much more enjoyable.

I've been feeling really great compared to last week and am enjoying getting the 17 million units instead of the 34.  It will be interesting to see if there is a big change this week in how I feel because of the lower dose.  I'm still trying to decide if I'll be taking the lowest dose of self injections 3 times a week for 11 months after the infusions. These last 2 weeks will probably help me decide.  I think what we are most worried about is my energy level because that is one side effect that has stayed with me this whole time. Praying lots about it.

I'm half way done with these infusion and I'm SO grateful for the thoughts and prayers!
Much Love!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Half way there!

After having skipped the interferon on Wednesday and Thursday, I felt great on Thanksgiving and most of the day Friday! :) My Thanksgiving was wonderful.  My aunt and uncle from my mom's side came over for lunch and we visited and watched football games the rest of the day.  We are having Thanksgiving on my dad's side of the family tonight. :)

Friday I went in for treatment at noon.  They told us it would take a bit of extra time because they were going to do some blood tests to make sure my liver count had gone down and my blood pressure was back to normal.  We got the blood tests back within a half hour and they found that my liver count had gone down but is still higher than it should be.  The doctor decided to cut my dosage in half so now instead of 34 million units I'm getting 17 million units.  I'm also supposed to try and hold off the prescription medicine and tylonol because of my liver.  I did take a tylonol last night because I was getting a headache and was feeling achy all over.  It helped and I felt good the rest of the night.  I even felt well enough to go to a friends house and then have people over at my house.  It was great seeing everyone!  :) I'm hoping the lower dosage will mean less severe side effects!

This week was much easier than last week and I'm feeling extremely thankful for that.  My family and friends make up such a fantastic support system.  Thank you so much for the thoughts and prayers!  This semester I've had SO much to be thankful for. I can definitely see God working though this situation in my life and in other's.

With Love and Thanks

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Week 2

The start of this week has been SO SO much better than last week.  I still have some nausea, but nothing like I did over the weekend.  My headaches are about gone and I haven't had a fever.  The one symptom that has been with me the entire time is fatigue.  I am extremely tired all the time and take lots of naps.  I got my blood tests on Monday and they found that my white cell blood count looks great and they are happy with how my body is reacting to it.  Today, however, they found that my blood pressure was much higher than normal and that the reading on my liver had gone up slightly (not dangerously, just a bit of concern w/ the dosage).  They decided to just give me a liter of fluid and hold off on the treatment.  I will not be taking it tomorrow (THANKSGIVING! :)) either.

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers!
I love you!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


That word probably is the one I would use to define this weekend.  The doctors keeps saying that I have to drink more water and let time pass but I've felt sick since Friday and haven't gotten better yet.  I'm planning on meeting with my oncologist tomorrow and hopefully lowering the daily dosages they are giving me.  A lot of people end up lowering them for various reasons.  He told me from the beginning that he does not accept nausea as one of the side effects, so something is going to have to change. (At least maybe I wont overeat on Thanksgiving! haha)

Other than that, my headaches are gone, no more fever or chills, I'm a little tired but I can handle that.  Just trying to keep drinking lots and lots of water.

Hopefully my nausea will go away soon and the second week will be easier than the first one.

I love you and thank you for all the prayers and support!

Friday, November 19, 2010

One week down...3 to go!

Today was one of the harder days.  I slept most of the day and when I wasn't sleeping my stomach was upset.  I made it to the treatment and then felt a bit better once they gave me extra fluid and some anti-nausea medicine.  Once I got home I started feeling worse and couldn't eat anything.  I took another anti-nausea pill to help with that and went to bed then woke up at about 8:30.  I've eaten a bite of peanut butter and jelly and some banana but still don't feel great.

Except for the night without medicine, this has been the lease enjoyable.  I'm SO glad that I get two days off!

Thank you for all the thoughts and prayers!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Today has been really good.  The only side effect that I've felt is fatigue.  I napped all morning and after the  treatment today I ate dinner then just woke up from another nap.  I'm very thankful that the side effects are becoming less and less severe. I can handle being sleepy! Its just like the exhaustion from high school swimming season (only without the high school swimming).
My port is still pretty sore but the doctors said it would be a couple of weeks before it was back to normal.

I'm feeling very loved and enjoying all of the cards and messages.  Thank you SO much for all your love and support.

MUCH Better!

Last night was so different than the night before.  After the surgery to put my port in (which went very well) I was able to start taking my medicine again so within about and hour after I got out of surgery my headache and fever were gone. I went straight to treatment after getting out of surgery.  The port is WONDERFUL!! I don't have to be stuck 3-4 times a day! :)  They gave me a liter of water yesterday to make up for my dehydration before the surgery.  I also had my anti nausea medicine that they give every other day.  Because I was able to take all my medicine last night and this morning I've been feeling much better.  The only side effects I've had are small headache, light fever (no shakes!), and drowsiness.  I went to bed at 9:30 then woke up at 6:30 but have been taking naps since I got up.

Today I have physical therapy at 1:30 then I'll go straight to treatment so that I can get extra fluids before they put in my interferon.  If I feel like I did last night for the rest of the treatment I have nothing to complain about.  I'm doing SO SO SO much better! :)

Thank you all for the thoughts and prayers!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Thank Goodness for Medicine!

I pray that I will never have a night like last night again. (Sorry, not going to sugar coat this one) At about 10, when I was going to bed, I started getting the chills along with a throbbing headache that made me dizzy, and aches in my joints.  I was dressed in a t-shirt, sweatshirt, shorts, sweatpants, and thick fuzzy socks with 2 thick comforter blankets on my bed.  I still felt like I was outside in 20 degree weather with a t-shirt and shorts on.  I have never shook that much before.  With the throbbing pain in my head and joints plus the severe chills, I cried myself to sleep hoping that it would all just go away.  After about 45 minutes of the chills I finally started to slowly warm up.  I woke up around 11:45 and was not shaking anymore. The headache was still throbbing and joints aching when I woke up at 12:30, 1:50, and 3:30.  It finally slowed down to a dull ache by 5:30.  I had a fever when I woke up at 8:30 and it has continued through the morning.  My head still hurts but its not throbbing and I don't have the chills anymore.

I can't believe the difference between the first night with it and last night.  Its amazing how much the preventative medicine helps in keeping the side effects at a minimum.  I cannot wait until this surgery is over so that I can drink water, eat, and take that medicine!

I met a woman yesterday who started the interferon the same time that I did (on Monday).  She is wonderful.  She said that she's been praying for me at night when she is going through the side effects. We are kind of bonded in a way. I'll pray for her at night during the worst of the side effects and she prays for me.  Then we swap stories when we come in the next day.  I'm glad that God put her into my life.

One thing that I've learned through this is that even though I may have had a rough night, I'm not the only one.  I'm thankful for all the support I have and want to ask you to pray for others going through this as well.

With love and thanks

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 2

I felt pretty good this morning, had a bit of a headache but nothing like last night.  I was awake enough to visit people at my church then needed about an hour nap before going to the hospital.  I felt great at the hospital.  No headache, fatigue, or fever.  I even felt well enough after the interferon to go to the first high school swim meet! :)  I stayed for about and hour before I started getting a headache and feeling tired.  When I got back home my headache worsened and I started getting a fever.  I also have some indigestion.  The problem with all of this is that I can't take any medicine tonight or tomorrow to prevent this.  I'm getting surgery to have my port put in tomorrow so I can't take any medicine.  Its going to be an long night.

I am excited to get my port in though. They had to stick me 3 times today before finding a vein in my arm.  Now I won't have to deal with all of that.

Thank you for the support.  I hope you all are doing well!
Lots of love

Monday, November 15, 2010

One down...18 more to go!

Its been a little over 2 hours since I finished the interferon infusion.  They put LOTS of fluid in me to make sure the side effects were as little as possible.  At the very end of the treatment my face started feeling hot and I was a bit chilled.  I've had a slight fever since I got home, but my energy level has been pretty good until honestly about now. Its not as bad as I thought it would be.  I do have a headache, I don't know if its from the medicine or if it has anything to do with my headache earlier, and I'm getting really tired.
Sorry, don't feel much like writing more.
Thank you for the thoughts and prayers.

Getting Ready

I still haven't quite wrapped my mind around the fact that starting at 3:40 today I will be feeling the effects of this treatment. Its weird to know that although I feel just fine right now, tonight I will most likely have a fever AND I'm consciously putting medicine in my body that will cause it.  I've made sure I have tylonol for tonight and plenty of water to keep by my bedside. (Water is supposed to help flush the interferon out..lessen the side effects)  I'm not as nervous as you might think (praise God!), but I'm definitely feeling the stress on my body starting to set in.  I got a pretty bad headache while driving home from IU and haven't felt like eating much.  When leaving IU I was in desperate need for some comforting and I got just that. :) comforted by a song. "Our God is Healer, awesome in power....and if our God is with us then what can stand against"  I have a Healer who has the power to stand up against ANYTHING. What an encouraging and comforting thought!

I'm still very sure of my decision to go through with this even though the unknown is scary.  I have such an awesome group of people supporting me and I'm excited to tell everyone how WELL I'm doing once this starts. :)  I'm still planning on taking walks or running or swimming everyday.  I'm excited to get to know the nurses and the other people I'll be spending my hour with each day.

OH! and the thing I called a "push" what they will be putting in so they don't have to find a vein in my arm each day, is actually called a port.  Sorry for giving you the wrong information!

I love you all SO very much and cannot thank you enough for the thought and prayers!
God Bless!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today was the final day of IU Dance Marathon. I was SO thankful that I was able participate as a dancer for some of the time.  It was the perfect time for me to hear all of the Riley stories because listening what these kids are going through made me realize how good I have it.  There was one specific boy who had to have chemo for 3 years starting when he was 3.  His mom told of how nervous she was to have him go through the side effects of the treatment and one of the nurses said, "You just have to have faith".  This stuck out to me because I know how nervous my family and I are about the side effects of the interferon and hearing, "You just have to have faith" was a great reminder. 

Friday I went to my physical therapist. The appointment went great and I already have more range of motion in my arm.  As of now I have no swelling in my arm! :)  I was taught plenty of different ways to prevent the swelling from ever coming. 

I'm feeling alright today.  I started taking the medicine that will prevent me from getting as high of fever and aches and pains but it made me dizzy and tired. I'm hoping that just because of my lack of sleep from IUDM the medicine effected me that way.  We'll see how I feel tomorrow.
Praying lots for this interferon tomorrow. I'm feeling at peace about it still. :)
I love you all!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Oncology Appointment

This morning my mom and I met with my oncologist to talk about the interferon details.  It was really helpful and I definitely came out of there feeling much less nervous than I did coming in.  The one not so fun thing I found out was that I don't have very good veins in my right arm (the only one I can use because of having my lymph nodes taken out). This means that I will have a "push" surgically inserted in my skin near my collar bone.  A push is a little circular disk that is attached to a tube that will be inserted into a vein in my neck.  The push is what the nurses will use to put in the interferon and take blood when needed.  The good thing is I don't have to be stuck with a needle everyday. :)  My oncologist assured me that the worst symptoms should be a couple hours after the infusion and on through the night.  As long as I am drinking enough water and flush the stuff out, by morning most of the effects should be minimal (except for fatigue).  I saw the room that everyone sits in when getting infusions and I'll be with a lot of older people.  I'm hoping I can weasel some of them to tell me stories from when they grew up. I could listen to those stories for hours!  I will come out of this SO much wiser! haha
I've been walking everyday this week and today I walked/JOGGED!! about 2 miles.  I only jogged probably about a 10th of what I walked, but its a start!  I'm incredibly sore now, but I'm determined I'm going to stay active during this whole thing.  And I'm taking my vitamins and trying to eat somewhat healthy...although chocolate sneaks in to that healthy diet more than a few times a day.  The word "trying" is key. :)

I'm feeling happy today. I think the beautiful weather is helping my mood quite a bit.  I'm also VERY excited to get to IU on Saturday!  The IU Dance Marathon is going on from Friday until Sunday. I have to get lots of sleep so I can't participate in the whole thing but I'm excited to be there for part of it.

My physical therapy appointment is tomorrow. The therapist will teach me how to exercise my arm so that the range of motion comes back safely and without any swelling.  I'm hoping to be able to swim a bit soon so getting my arm above my head will be great!

Thank you again for all the thoughts and prayers!

And I want to say a special thank you to our veterans.  The men and women who have served our country, the ones who are serving now, and their families.  My prayers and thanks go out to all.  Thank you especially to my friend Matt Sanders, my cousin Josh Bleill, uncle Virg Bleill, and grandpa Leo Bewley. I love you SO much!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

This morning I went to the doctor to get my blood tested for vitamin levels, cholesterol, iron level, ect.  This will help us to figure out the supplements I'll need to take to make sure that I stay as healthy as possible in the future.  Today I also walked a little further, about 2 1/2 miles so that I can get in the habit and try to stay active during the treatment.  It was BEAUTIFUL outside and it was just nice to do something rather than stay home.  :)  I'm trying my best to visit as many people as I can this week before I'm not feeling quite as well.  Today I was able to visit people at my church.
Tomorrow I go to my oncologist to talk about the interferon, what room I'll be in, what nurses will be taking care of me, ect...

I'm feeling pretty good right now.  Still at peace with my decision but am probably going to be at least a little nervous until I start it.  The unknown is the scary part.  I'm just not sure how bad (or good) I will feel.  Good good good!!! ...that's what I keep telling myself, haha.  I think once I've made it through the first day I will be less nervous about it and more just determined to get through it as best as I can. Praying for lots of comfort during these next four weeks.

Thank you all SO much for the thoughts and prayers!
Happy Wednesday! :)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Another Decision Made

My family and I have decided for me to go through with the interferon treatment.  I made the appointment to start the treatment Monday November 15th.  I will have blood work done tomorrow, a pre-interferon Dr. appt on Thursday, my physical therapy appt Friday, and then start the treatment on Monday.  Busy busy busy... I am extremely relieved to have made a decision.  I also feel that I've made the right one.  A wonderful peace came over me once it was final.  I now know that I am doing everything possible to ensure the best outcome for my future. No matter what happens I can feel certain that there was nothing more I could have done.
The interferon will start at 3:40 on Monday.  The infusion will last for about an hour.  I will go to the hospital Monday through Friday at 3:40 for a month.  I get the weekends off. :) The usual symptoms are flu-like, such as fever, chills, aches and pains, and chronic fatigue.  How severe these symptoms will be depends on how my body reacts, each person is different, so only time will tell. I am really nervous to start, but I'm definitely more scared to not start.
The good thing about starting to soon is that I will be done with 3 weeks before going back to school.  That will give me time to recover before going back.  I CAN'T WAIT! :) :)
I'll keep you updated on all the appointments.

Love you all!
God is Good

Monday, November 8, 2010

Last Appointment w/ my Surgeon :)

Today I had my last follow up appt with my surgeon.  WOOHOO! :)  He said that everything is looking great!  My scar looks good and I have a little bit of swelling but its nothing that my body can't fix itself.  He tried to take stick a needle under my arm and drain any extra fluid but hardly anything came out.  Very relived that all has gone so well with the surgery.  I'm SO thankful for that group of doctors and nurses. They took such good care of me.  Its hard to believe but I think I'm going to miss seeing that staff.  Haha, even the front desk new my name and face. All I had to do was wave and they would tell the doctor I was there.  I never want to go back, but I feel very thankful to have been in such good hands.
Later today I went and had lunch with my dad and grandma and am now trying to decide if, where, and when to get the treatment.

Needing LOTS of prayers about this.
SO much love!!!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

This weekend has been great!  Thursday I got to go down to IU.  I had so much fun visiting with friends and going to formal. :)  On Saturday I came home with a friend and we were able to catch up and watch a movie.  Later my family played a friendly game of and I won! (of course) Sunday girls from my the small group I lead in Bloomington drove up to see me.  We played a great game of apples to apples and some ping pong. An excellent weekend!
 Overall I haven't had much of a problem with my arm.  Now that the tube is out I don't notice it as much.  I still cannot lift it higher than my shoulder but the constant pain is about gone.  I am feeling a little bit of swelling underneath my arm....  Tomorrow when I go to the appt with my surgeon he will probably drain it.  I also found out about the mole that was taken off on my neck. It was normal! :)  That was a very big relief!

We still haven't made the second appointment with my oncologist, but it will probably happen next week.

Thank you SO much for the prayers.
With love

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Gaining Energy

After trying to get over the surgery and the cold I'm FINALLY feeling more myself again.  Living without the drain is AMAZING. :)  I still have to watch for any swelling (so far none) but am overall feeling very positive right now.  With gaining energy, I've also discovered how out of shape I am. Not out of shape in the sense that it is hard for me to swim a full practice, but out of shape in that I just walked in the mall for 45 minutes then came home and walked Beau around the block (a 15 min walk).  My legs are now killing me.....I'm going to try and do more activities from now on to build back up. Slowly but surely. Its just hard to figure out what I can and can't do still.  I made my first physical therapy appt for November 12th.  I'm looking forward to hearing how best to gain more movement in my arm and what changes I'll need to be making for the rest of my life to keep the swelling from ever starting.

Today I also visited some of the people who work at my church. It was great seeing everyone.  I did meet one person who I had never met before. When introduced to her, she responded with "THE Rachel Bewley!?" haha...She said she has been praying for me each week. Someone I have never met or even knew existed is talking to God about me each week.  It brings me to tears thinking about it.  It just doesn't seem possible.

Love and Blessings,

Monday, November 1, 2010

Drainless :)

This morning my drain was taken out!! :)  It feels SO good to not have to worry about it being caught on something or leaking or lifting my arm too high. I can even wear shirts without pockets and buttons to hold my drain and I can drive again.  Yay!  
Once it was taken out my nurse explained that it was like a stab wound and would probably leak and bleed for a couple days still, but will eventually stop and heal.  One thing I do have to watch for, now that the fluid doesn't have anywhere to go, is lymphedema or swelling.  I mostly have to watch for swelling under my arm. I have an appointment with my surgeon next Monday to check and see if there is any more fluid build up. If there is he will just poke a few holes and let it drain.  (Hopefully not)  Either way I don't care right now, I'm just very very thankful that I don't have to deal with that thing anymore.  I'm also going to start physical therapy within the next week or so to get the range of motion in my arm back to normal.

Today I also went to my dermatologist to make sure no other abnormal moles come up.  I'll have appointments every 3 months for the next couple of years because if anything else were to come up it would usually be within the next couple of years.  He did find one mole on the back of my neck that didn't look normal.  He also said it didn't look worrisome but would take it off and test it to be safe.  I will find out the results for that by next Monday.  Even though that wasn't great news, I couldn't help being happy when I left because I'm DRAINLESS! :)