Saturday, January 2, 2016

...And More Changes

I returned from Germany on a Saturday and was just having a fit to get to church for worship.  I am not sure why it was particularly emotional for me, personally!  I was just to grateful and blessed to be home with people that love me.

After about 3 hours I returned home and flopped on the couch.  The pain began to increase.  I have a few options to handle the pain, but since I am unable to swallow anything (not even water)...the options are only a few.  By Monday my daughter and big sister had made the decision to take me to hospice.  They helped get the pain under control, but not without being 24/7 on a morphine drip.

I fought to go home for christmas, with much resistance.  I finally got to go home on an I.V. pole of morphine and Nutrition.

Friday, December 18, 2015

And Things Do Change Fast.

I did extremely well with the lower dose of Gemzar through the use of Hyperthermia.  Wonderful!

But I had to get a traditional dose of Gemzar just one week later.  Now, hold on.  I am positive that I vomited my toes up.  I am so weak and really pretty depressed after what this session of chemo has done to me.  The protocol is to get the Gemzar once a week for three weeks and then take a week off. At this point, we are not sure if I can take it two weeks on and two weeks off.  Maybe a can take a dose once a month and that at a reduced rate.

Additionally, I have had fluid drained from my abdomen 4 times since I have been here.  It is not that different than the protocol in the U.S.  Except for one old doctor that showed up whose training did not include any kind of numbing medication.  He could have had be bight down on a nail or something.  It took two nurses to hold me down.  We got the job done, but I hope that doctor understood what I thought of him in my southern English vernacular.

I am returning home with a very heathy liver and a very healthy lymph system.  It takes some time to see if the chemo is the right one for this cancer.  However, I remain unable to eat or drink anything.  This is a depressing state of affairs since Christmas is coming up and all of my favorite dishes will be served.

It has been suggested that I puree the food.  But I can not even get water through.  It will sit in my tummy for a short amount of time and then come right back up.

All I want for Christmas is for my cancer to go away!  There are so many around the world that are suffering far worse, but my reality for me is very difficult for me to deal with right now.

Keep Praying.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

I Almost Lost My Marbles!

As you now know, I made it through the renewal of my lymphatic system and my immune system is in fighting shape.  The Extreme Hyperthermia comes with very few side effects.  The Doctors in Germany agreed on the same chemo as the doctors in the U.S.  This is important so that I can go between Germany & the U.S. for treatments without conflict.  We chose a bit of a strong dose of Gemzar that came with some pretty strong Nausea that lasted only one evening.  This is a far cry from the week/s or so of nausea and vomitting that I suffer from the traditional chemo infussions in the U.S.

Chemo and cancer has compromised my production of blood cells.  You know that it wrecked my white blood cell count for a while and that is how I ended up in Germany.  Well, now it is wrecking my red blood cell count.  This causes extreme exaustion and can also become very dangerous.  Transfussions of red blood cells are the best way to combat this in the short run.  I quickly became lethargic and was barely able to walk or sit up on my own.  So, no big deal...right?  Just a few units of blood and I will be back up and running.  NOT QUITE!

Tough little Cheryl had a panic attack that would not go away.  I could rationalize the necesity, safety, etc. of having the infussions, but something simply freaked me out about it.  So after I talked them into sedating me through the procedure and covering the blood with a towel, two units of blood later and I am feeling better.

I can watch open heart surgeries on t.v., I can watch needles go in and out of my veins and I can almost enjoy a root canal, but this...  I prayed for strength, handed it over to God and sent satan to where he belongs and I still needed medication to get me through this.

As you can see, I still desperately need your prayers, even for the little stuff.  Thank you!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Great Success?

I complete my second round of Extreme Hypothermia here in Germany.  I am sorry to say that it took a week to fix what the doctors in America screwed up between treatments.  They managed to shut down my lymphatic system which caused extreme swelling all over my body.  If you have been reading my blog you will know that extreme pain put me in the hospital.  All though the doctors did what they were trained to do...pump pain killers and antibiotics in put me on death's door.  The American docs discussed that I have from 2 months to 6 months to live and at some point told my family that I had only days left.  They sent me home with nutrition in a bag that I would have to feed myself through a port, every day.

Of course, I had resigned myself to settle down and let God take me.  After one hell of a faith and fight lecture from daughter, we re-booked the flight tickets to Germany that we had cancelled and we made it back to Germany only about 5 days later than originally planned.  After about a day of treatment, I felt much better.  After a few days of treatment the lymphatic drainage treatment started working.  After a few more days I was ready for the big guns, again.  Based on how I felt a week ago (throwing up blood, etc.) I am experiencing a MIRACLE.

The doctors were amazed that I did not even have to have any anethesia.  I stripped my clothes off and hopped up on that machine.  About 13 hours later I feel like a new person.

Prognosis from previous treatment to now....See Next Post!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Oh! How That Bucket List changes!

Make a list, now, of the things that you would want to do before you die.  Do not consider money or any other barriers in your life.  Go ahead, just start writing.  Go back to that list every year and assess it then start all over with a new list each year.  Over the years you will be surprised at the things that you can check off of that list as having completed in some way.  At some point, you will start to see real growth in who you are and your outlook on what is important in life.

I started doing this years ago.  I have missed a few years here and there, but I still go back to that list at some point.  My bucket list is at a very interesting cross-road, as you can imagine.  The most important observation is how close to God I have become and how God is a much bigger part of this bucket list every year.

May I share some of this list with you?
  1. Write a book (it does not have to be a novel, but a legacy of some sort)
  2. Travel more (oh! how I would love to go on a mission trip and see the look on people's faces when they understand what God's Grace means)
  3. Cook more (Ya'll come on over after church for a bite to eat and a card game - socialize more with my brothers & sisters in Christ)
You can steal my ideas for your bucket list.  Many of the items on the list are outrageous stuff that one would never think could happen in my life time, but I don't worry about that.  I just move forward with my hopes and dreams.

Keep dreaming and praying...and for goodness sakes, WRITE!

"You Are One Tough Lady!"

I got this comment from the most intimidating German, Female doctor here at Frachclinic after she looked at sonograms & CT scans that have been produced over the last year.  The more test that are run in the U.S. and in Germany, the more I get that comment.  They know the true severity of my cancer, the pain that it causes and the terrible side effects.  I take this opportunity to explain how Jesus Christ suffered a heck of a lot more than this.

As feeding tubes remain in and the tummy & lungs continue to be drained every few days...I remain strong as an example of a child of God...I remain strong for an even stronger daughter who is always at my side...I remain strong for little cousins that are looking up to me...I remain strong for my twin sister that is left to pick up some of the pieces of my life, not to mention trying to be a surrogate mother to my daughter...I remain strong for all that have carried a burden.  I am not a victim in anyway and refuse to be labled that way.

Again, I say that God has blessed me by choosing me to carry this.  This particular cancer is a furious one and is proving to be one heck of a ride.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Financial Burden!

These trips to Germany are proving to be very expensive, but I knew that going in.  I just thought that the vague wording from the insurance company would help out a little more.  So far, I have not received a receipt that is usable for them and at that they will only pay 60% of any treatment that they would normally pay for in the states.  Most of the treatments that I am getting are alternative by U.S. standards.

The first visit cost over $25,000 U.S. dollars and this visit will be about the same.

I am posting this because some of you have asked.

A precious friend has set up a way that you can help.  Go to the St. John's County Pink Heals website.  You will find a link there.  They also have an address that you can mail a check to, that will make the donation completely tax refundable.  Or you can pay by credit card right there on the website.  To the best of my knowledge, I can't see who has donated and 100% of the donations go toward my medical bills.  At a later date, St. John's County Pink Heals will host a fund raiser to collect the cost of doing this.  On the website, you will see other St. John's County residents that are also fund raising for their cancer treatments.

Thank you for your continued prayers!