June 08, 2009

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger

I think last week was the longest week of my life…ok maybe it was the last week of both pregnancies…either way it was a long long week. I am afraid that this week is going to be a long one too… Tomorrow I start the day at the Oncologist office…blood draw, see the good Dr. then I get an IV for the next hour and a half of some bone building glop…not sure what it is but it’s supposed to make me stronger…and isn’t that the goal? Then when I am done with that I move over one office to get radiated once again. 5 more days…that’s it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 more sleeps…well more than that I guess since I sleep during the day too…oops…it’s like narcolepsy…crazy crazy…

So it’s hard to know if I should be depressed or excited…the chemical menopause doesn’t help…and after all I am really only functioning on Rice Krispies to be honest…not really brain food… The deconstruction phase is almost through and reconstruction starts in 5 days…I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 08, 2009



I am down to about 4 sounds this week…a wretching sound, a yawn, sleep breathing (I don’t snore) and crying.

I have never never never been this tired before in my entire life!!!!!!!!!!!! Radiation is nothing but destruction and your body,… my body spends 23 hours trying to rebuild only to be attacked again each day. And let’s face it, Rice Krispies and white bread are not the food of champions…my instructions are to let the radiation break things down and don’t try and stop it. So here I sit, not stopping it. I can’t tell you how much I am craving a freaking fresh strawberry!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wow Chad better go with me to the store when I am feeling better or I may break the bank with fresh fruit and veggies.

This is sometimes more than I can bare but I wouldn’t trade what I have learned either.

June 08, 2009

Tissue please

Ok finally, You have no idea how cool (literally) it is to be able to take more than a sip of water at a time. It is sooooooo cool.

Today I had half a cinnamon roll from Penguin coffee and it was AWESOME! That’s the “up” side…the other side is that I am not home yet. My tummy is still a bit iffy tho’ it is day two of Non-throw-upage…also I have a Dr’s apt on Friday and it just seemed goofy to go home today and come back a day later. So the plan is to be home this weekend and life begins again…wow…how strange is that going to be????????

I am really looking forward to it but it just seems almost foreign now…the animals and the kids smacking each other…the refrigerator without the the ice and water dispenser…no air mattress on the bed that inflates and deflates like a Mediterranean massage…no mom to wash my Jammie’s…no sunset water views and late night piano bar…

But how can that compare to kids who miss their mom and can’t wait for her to come home…tissue please…

June 08, 2009

Welcome home mom

I am Home!!!!!!!! Finally home…I came home to streamers and banners and balloons and kid kisses and cats and a dog and neighbors who I love. How healing is that?!

Now I am awake and it is the middle of the night… but it’s just the rush of it all…all the sounds of the house are the same and it is so comforting to hear.

You forget sometimes what it sounds like when the furnace comes on and it humms you back to sleep when you have just a tiny chill, or the clock in the bedroom that ticks and like a baby in a cradle it lulls you into that sleepy fog.

Now that I have said all of that, I should try and go back to sleep. I was just so glad to be home!

June 08, 2009

Very lyrical

Very lyrical

Well, here I am again…parked in front of the computer at 3:18 a.m.!!!!!!!!!!!! Good grief!!!!!!!!! Looking up song lyrics of all things…what’s that about? I’ll tell you what it’s about.

The strangest things are waking me up in the middle of the night. For the last few nights it has been songs running through my head when suddenly I stumble over the lyrics and it’s so darn upsetting that it wakes me up. I knew I shouldn’t have watched the country music awards last night…at least now I know the name of Brad Paisley’s teacher that “polished him until he shined”.

And two nights ago it was Jewell…she called me and she had so many questions, 30 minutes worth if we really talked from the time I got back from the bathroom and when I woke up for the 4th time. The frustrating thing is I can’t blame the steroids any more because I am not taking them…and Chad hasn’t snored for weeks (which has been awesome by the way)…so I just lay there…sometimes I stew about everything…sometimes I get mad all over again…sometimes the shock of all of this floats back over me…sometimes I pray…so FYI if you have any requests that you would like some middle of the night attention I am your gal.

Sooooooooooo, I’m gonna go now because I still have to look up the name of the 4th gal on the re-make of Lady Marmalade…you know, just in case Christina calls me when I fall back asleep!

June 08, 2009

Liver spot or spot on liver?

Soooooo I went to the Dr. today…let’s just say I would rather uhhhhh (give me a sec to think of something awful) I would rather…find a dead rat somewhere in my house (just not my bed) then repeat today’s apt…not just your run of the mill dead rat mind you, but one that has been dead for a while and part of it’s jaw is missing…that kind of a dead rat…got it?

I fooled myself into thinking that “no news is good news” when I had the scans two weeks ago and then never heard from the Dr. He is very diligent, so normally that would make perfect sense. But today I learned that phrase isn’t always true.

There is a spot on my liver. Oh what I would give for a liver spot instead! There was a spot on my liver a few months ago, but it was teeeeeny tiny and appeared to be a blood vessel. But, as blood vessels don’t normally double in size, this spot is a bit more of a concern…because…well…it has doubled in size. I saw it with my own eyes and yes, although he had to point it out to me, it was there and bigger in the second scan than the first.

No one knows what it is tho’. You see, the results of the bone scan were perfect. According to those, everything we are doing is working great. However, if it were working great then nothing should be growing in the liver. Duh! Everyone knows that. Actually I didn’t know that…he told me. So if the liver thing is bad, then the bone scan should have been bad too…it’s all a bit puzzling… so next week I have a PET scan (I have just about had a scan for every letter in the alphabet..PETMRICTBONE…)scheduled for Thursday.

I am not happy…no, I am pretty sad actually, sad and anxious, and mad, and overwhelmed… So after that fun apt I spent the next hour trying to start my IV infusion. When I say “I”, I mean the 4 Nurses that each attempted multiple times to start the IV infusion…only to have every vein in my arm fail. So, with my arm leaking, they sent me home. There were no more veins left to poke…I looked like a voodoo doll that had really done somebody wrong!

So here we go again…as if the first round of character building experiences weren’t enough. I thought they were but sadly I don’t get to make those decisions. I will send more info as I get it…or I may just vent more at random.

June 08, 2009

Stop your arguing, stop it now, stop before I have a cow

Why is it our kids always argue with us when it seems “life in general” is at it’s worst? Maybe that is a really really stupid question, but I have been asking myself that very thing today over and over.

What I would like to do is look them square in the eye and say “Don’t you understand there is a spot on my liver that is getting bigger, and many people attempted to ram a plastic tube with a blunt end into every non-existent vein in my arm again and again and again, and I spent $4.40 a gallon to drive to the damn doctor and back and now I have to do it all over again on Monday, where they get to inflict more extreme discomfort, and again on Thursday for another scan with another IV and more horrible liquids…SO STOP ARGUING!!!!!” But they don’t know about the spot so I can’t. And because they don’t know about the spot I can’t cry or be abnormally whiny…I have to be “happy healing mom”.

So happy healing mom is hoping that her kids go to bed early tonight so she can cry for a few minutes and let some of this cancer madness find it’s way down her cheeks.

June 08, 2009



It’s 4:04 am and there is an unidentified spot on my liver, and the house is finally cooling down but my room is still hot and there is an unidentified spot on my liver, and the 4th of July is in two days and I have no idea what I am going to do about dinner and there is an unidentified spot on my liver, and the bachelorette is down to the final two and there is an unidentified spot on my liver, and I tell myself over and over to quit worrying but there is an unidentified spot on my liver. Desperate for the quiet release of sleep……….but………..

June 08, 2009

Pet Scan

Ok take all the worst parts of an MRI and then take all the worst parts of a CT scan and put them together and call it a PET scan… There’s the IV part and the sitting “ABSOLUTELY” still for one hour BEFORE the scan, then the drinking two 16oz jugs of congeal-y liquid that in no way tastes like the fruits of the forest which it proclaims, then the iodine injection that makes you feel like you have soiled yourself then there’s the tiny tube which they love to call a donut because, I guess, that is supposed to make it more fun, but it’s tiny and you are trapped in it for 30 minutes with your arms up over your head, which ain’t no fun I assure you, donut or no donut…

So there you have it. It’s done and done thoroughly. Now we wait for the results.

June 08, 2009

We all fall down

Well we didn’t ALL fall down, but I did. I tripped and fell flat on my face. I honestly can’t remember the last time I fell down…well now I can because it was last night.

Now in context this is a bit scary as my bones haven’t quite healed yet, so the potential for a larger more embarrassing situation was definitely a possibility.

It’s always embarrassing as an adult, I think, to fall down…but even more embarrassing when you trip and fall coming out of the bathroom. Ohhhh yes, that is exactly what I did. I left the bathroom last night, turned out the light, and with tiny pupils walked into my dark bedroom and tripped over my dog that was laying on the floor right in front of the bathroom door. The room was dark, the dog is dark, the carpet is dark, and I’m a dork.

Nothing broke, thankfully…my son ran and got ice and sat beside me on the floor…my husband sat on the other side of me checking for broken parts, and my daughter got up and called MY DAD???? Yup…she called my dad and handed me the phone…”Hey dad, ya, I fell down, on my face…”

June 08, 2009

Singing Hallelujah

Singing Hallelujah

(originally written 7-7-08)

The results came back from the latest scan and the spot they saw in the liver turned out to be nothing. Not only was it nothing but the “something’s” are now nothing…that is to say the cancer in the bones is now offically dormant…like me…and not only is it dormant but there is actual scar tissue which normally sounds like it wouldn’t be such great news…like in the sentence “My, but you have a lot of scar tissue.”

But in this case, it means that things are healing…hence my calling my dad to ask him how to spell hallelujah so I could use the word hallelujah in both the title and the body of this blog. So HALLELUJAH…and thank God for the words dormant and scar tissue in the same sentence!!

June 15, 2009

"Harley" a vacation

So we are here…the Hardley Davidson chicks have made it to Spokane. The weather is fabulous…sorry…we finally decided to go to dinner at about 8:30 and it was 77*… that wasn’t even our high in Anacortes…anyway it was lovely to say the least.

Most of the day was spent laughing and listening to music on the way over…overly commenting (on my part) on how desert-y it really was…and just a little shopping and eating and buying of mid-day caffeine products. The GPS in the Lexus got us to the hotel and we hauled our gear to room 325…stopping for complimentary cookies in the lobby…Lynn filled the ice bucket and we took a break from the car for an hour before heading to dinner.

After dinner we drove around town a bit, then back to the Pheasant Hill Inn grabbing some herbal tea before heading back to the room…

We put both of our brains together and came up with enough of one brain to get the laptop connected and here I am.

I don’t know for sure what the plan is for tomorrow but isn’t that the point of the girly road trip…

Ok well Thelma is busy texting so Louise is going to hit the loo to slip into her Pj’s and climb into her giant princess and the pea bed. Will write tomorrow.

June 15, 2009

Skull and scan

It’s 3:45 in the morning and I can’t sleep. I have slipped on a new black sweater that my mom bought me today in hopes that it warms me up but I think the cold is coming from the inside as well as the outside. Still, it is soft and covers my arms which is somehow comforting.

The cancer is growing again…in my skull…we aren’t sure about anywhere else but we will know more in a few hours…I have a bone scan scheduled for later “today” and another PET scan scheduled for next week.

Yesterday I was in no pain…tonight my hip hurts , my neck hurts, between my shoulderblades…and my heart…the last one I don’t think I have to explain. Right now I am not really “anything” when it comes to emotions…I don’t think it all sinks in at once…radiation starts tomorrow and goes for the next 4 weeks. This time I get to lose the hair…at least that is what they tell me.

For the first time in all of this I feel defeated…I don’t like that feeling…it feels “too big”…it feels like someone is playing a trick on you and they outsmart you and there is nothing you can do about it. Yes, that is exactly what it feels like.

Miracles are possible …I know that with my head…what’s left of it anyway…just not sure there are any scheduled in my near future. Sometimes hope takes too much energy…if feels like too much energy tonight. When I know more I will pass it on.

June 15, 2009

Cement shoes

Cement shoes

I’ts 8:30. If I wasn’t looking at the clock there is no way I would have known. This has been an incredibley long day. 9:00 isotope shot, 9:15 CT scan, 12:00 bone scan, 2:30 radiation treatment with a few xrays thrown in for fun. I slogged to each appointment like my shoes were made of cement…big giant blocks of cement. I felt like I was wrapped in a wet blanket all day.

The results of the bone scan come tomorrow…radiation treatment at 10:30. Trick or treat? I’ll take treat given a choice…I am a little heavy on the trick side.

June 15, 2009

Jennifer Garner and my class reunion

Jennifer Garner and my class reunion

It’s amazing what you can do in a few hours sleep…last night I was in a movie with Jennifer Garner, at some sort of class reunion, and I moved into several different houses trying to avoid having any feelings of anxiety. The last one is kinda wierd but pretty self expalnatory…or is it explainitory, I don’t know where the spell check is on this computer.

Anyway, in every one of the dreams I was trying to avoid something…and in the class reunion dream I was in a hospital gown and was embarassed to get out of the hospital bed I was in…like it wasn’t already obvious…

I woke up from every one of them with a knot in my stomach and funny feelings in my legs, like when you are afraid of heights. Jennifer Garner is very nice as it turns out tho’…just in case you were wondering.

I don’t know if the dreams are anxiety based (ya think?) or from the radiation beam to the head or a little or lot of both. I am thankful for the sleep but when you have done that much in one night you don’t really wake up rested.

This “go round” is a bit harder for me mentally, emotionally, spiritually…the supernatural happens on a daily basis and thank God it does…we are a sorry lot for the most part and I am so thankful for grace in the daily stuff…the hug from the technician who does my IV was one of those times…she dropped everything that was in her hands right to the floor…it scattered hither and yon, and she threw her arms around me and gave me a hug that only your mother’s aunt Mabel can give and told me she was praying for me every day. That was a healing moment…I think for a split second the cancer stopped or maybe a few cells shriveled up and died. I am thankful for that moment.

June 15, 2009

Setting the bar low

Well I met with the radiologist today after my “zapping”. That is standard procedure to meet with the Dr once a week during treatment. She and my mom slipped into her office to view my bone scan from last Thursday, while I sat in the denial chair for a few minutes more.

Then I heard my mom from down the hall…”Laurie…good news…it’ hasn’t gone anywhere else…it’s only in your head!” OH it’s in my head alright!! But that’s the good news for the day…the bar is set pretty low these days. I’ll set it as low as I need to to get some good news. I was so relieved that I could hardly walk out of the office…kinda had jello for legs.

Tomorrow is the Pet scan or PT or something. It checks everything that isn’t bone. It is unlikely that anything is there either but we will know Thursday. Thank you thank you thank you for everything.

June 15, 2009

No morning coffee????

No morning coffee????

Today was PET scan day…a PET scan, as I so conveniently forgot, is all the worst parts of all the scans rolled into one scan. First there is the fasting…no eating after 7 the night before, no morning coffee, NO MORNING COFFEE, then the IV, then sitting manequin still for 1 hour, then drink the white fruit flavored congealed chicken fat beverage, THEN iodine, THEN FINALLY 1 hour in the tube.

I think they call it a PET scan so it lulls you into this happy fuzzy feeling of soft furry kittens and puppy kisses…I think they should call it BAD scan, or Long Boring Gross Scan, or Poke and Puke Scan…something that more acuratley describes the true scan experience.

Either way it’s done and it was done thoroughly and the results come tomorrow. With no cancer spreading anywhere else in the bones except my bonehead, the radiologist says that it is unlikley that it has gone to soft tissue…just a bit worried about my old friends the liver spots from last scan…I spent all day in the tube wishing them away…and I invited a few real friends in the tube with me. I know one made it for sure.

June 15, 2009

Thirty three percent

Thirty three percent

I haven’t cried this hard in a long time…the results of the PET scan showed more cancer and the bottom line is that the medicine just didn’t work. I am on a new medicine..but it will take at least two months to find out if it’s working or not…meanwhile the clock is ticking…

The Dr gives this drug a 33% chance of working… He’s not too hopeful…next treatment is chemo but get this…it’s chemo for life…not exactly the grand prize…you see if you don’t take hormone therapy then the chemo is just a finger in the cancer dam…no chemo and the cancer grows again because there is nothing to tell it not too.

I don’t know much about alternative treatments…never really been an alternative gal…well, maybe a little…but I’m open. Give me your best shot? Funny how our minds open when life begins to hang in the balance.

Actually it’s not funny…not the least bit funny…it sucks! I am so angry right now, angry and sad…very very very sad… The promise was when everything fell we’d be held…

June 15, 2009

The ten dollar lesson

The last few days have gone from hope to hopeless…from numb to hurt to numb again…from anger to sad to why…all normal I suppose, under the circumstances…

But as it all starts to level off I notice that it feels different this time…another layer has come off…I have been trying to put it into words for the past 24 hours…a way to describe it so it makes sense.

I guess it’s like reaching in your closet and putting on that coat you haven’t worn in a while. It’s warm and comfortable and you are glad you still have it…then you stuff your hands in the pockets to warm them and find a $10 bill you had no idea was there…unexpected revelation…wondering what you are going to do with it…

Just when I thought I had learned a bunch of stuff from the surgery, radiation, mask, scans, pokes, nausea, etc…the people, prayers, and all that love in action…I think I just learned more. It’s very intangible but very real.

It’s about how I look at things and people…where my value is…what to do when given an option…it’s good…it’s important…but it’s so crappy that it takes so much to get there. I want it but I don’t…you know? I am trying to decide if it’s worth it. I think it is, or will be, but I am right in the middle of paying for it so maybe now is not a good time to ask…the bill just came in the mail so to speak…what am I saying “so to speak” for? It did…really…wow that sucks…I just realized that I am not only paying for these lessons physically and emotionally, I am really “paying” for these lessons. CRAP! So much for the $10 bill I just found.

June 16, 2009

Knee jerk reaction

Knee jerk reaction

I woke up to fog this morning…lots of fog. Pretty normal for this time of year…and for the street we live on…weird how this street seems foggier than most others in this area…maybe there is something we are not getting…as a street I mean…nevermind, if I go there I will never get this written.

I have just been thinking about this one radiation session I had last week. At the time it was happening, I was thinking “this means something more” but I am still trying to put my finger on it.

This is what it looks like when you are having treatment…the table is only as wide as your body, hard as a rock, the mask is fastened to the table and this giant “thing” rotates around you and you lay perfectly still. Up until last week I was only having treatment to my skull…this meant I did not need to put on a hospital gown…just street clothes, the radiation mask and I was done. Last week they added T1-T8 to the list of “fields” that they are going to treat…which translates into hospital gown…so here comes the part where Laurie lays it all out there, and it ain’t easy…

As a result of the second radiation my hair is falling out…stupid pride is really making that a toughie for me…so I have been wearing hats…soon a hat won’t be enough.

I went in last Wednesday for my apt. and took off my hat…what hair was there was mashed flat…I laid on the table and on goes the mask…then off comes the hospital gown…yikes…there are things there I don’t want ppl to see…situations that you naturally want to keep to yourself…there are guys in that room… With my head stuck to the table, hair dropping out, exposed to the world, I had to lay there, resisting the urge to cover myself back up. My arms were free and at my side and it was all I could do to keep them there…a war beetween knee-jerk reaction and self control..

It was then that the thought came to me “this means something more”. Half bald and half naked I laid there with zero pride…wanting to hide something…my balding head, my entire torso…my anything…COVER SOMETHING UP PLEASE!!!!!!! I still have more to learn it appears…more to learn about myself and trust and Love and why we are loved…


I am the mother of two kids. I am fighting my second battle with breast cancer...this time it has gone to my bones...lots of my bones. Of course I would like to survive this and I am trying hard to do that very thing....but a cheerful heart is good medicine too so as I blog about all of this there will be both tears and laughter....but it will always be "the true story".