Friday, March 28, 2014

Update on Happening #3

Someone referred us to a dentist that I was able to see on Thursday. I had to explain my medical history, prescription medications, chemotherapy drugs, symptoms, dental history, and dental fears. He listened with an attentive ear and explained things in an extremely thoughtful way. Then, he examined my teeth and took x-rays.

My husband and I were so relieved when he told us that things weren't as bad as he thought they would be. He had seen many patients who had endured chemo and found their teeth and gums completely destroyed. My teeth looked pretty good.

Those black teeth? Old amalgam fillings (which were fine). Hehehe... The conversation also brought to light a redo on a root canal that I had forgotten about. A root canal that I had completely forgot about. How could you forget that you got a root canal redone???? I don't know. I did. This is why a few years back, I had entertained the thought of having an early onset of Alzheimer's disease.

So thankful to Dr. L for the kindness that he showed us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Happening #3

Chemotherapy has its secrets. A friend who had gone through chemo warned me about one of these secrets. This is a story of one of those secrets.

One day, I was minding my own business, eating some blueberries. Blueberries are yummy, but something annoying happened. The skin of one of the blueberries got caught in between my teeth. I could feel it, so I went to the bathroom to floss and brush my teeth.

I flossed between all of my teeth except two particular teeth. I tried and I tried, but I couldn't get the floss through. How could the skin of a blueberry be so tough? I picked at it with one of those plastic flossers, but nothing happened.

That is when I called my lovely daughter, A2. I asked her to see what was stuck between my top, back molars. Her reply was chilling.

She said, "Mom, you have black teeth."

I said, "What?!!!!!"

She said, "You have rotten teeth."

I said, "What?!!!!!"

I tried to look at my teeth using a large bathroom mirror. Could not see a thing. Then, I asked A2 to let me use one of her little mirrors.

To my horror, I saw black also! My two, top, back molars. I had to steady myself. That is when the other curious souls who live in this home came to look. My husband had a look. A1 had a look. A3 had a look. Then, A2 had to have another look and so did I!

Maybe that is why my teeth had been so sensitive and hurting these past few weeks? I've been brushing. I've been flossing. But as my friend had shared: chemo ruins your teeth. She had discovered that she had 10 cavities after her chemotherapy was done.

O Lord, help me.

And yes, after what seemed liked a few hours, I did get those blueberry skins out - only to get a few more stuck the following week.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Happening #2

The next thing that happened has never happened in this home - at least, not since we've lived here. We've lived in this town home since 2003!

We got mice, and I'm not ashamed of it! Okay, maybe a little, but I've realized that even nicer homes get them. I think the frigid weather lured them into our laundry room. So thankful that they are isolated in the laundry room and not the whole house!

We use the laundry room for storage also. We had a brand new bag of rice on the floor. I found that the corner of the bag had been chewed off. At first, I wasn't sure if it had been ripped by the door. My mother and father had come to my house that day, and they confirmed that it seemed like it was a mouse.

We conducted a test to verify. We cleaned up the bag of rice, laid out some grains of rice on the floor and closed the door. When I checked a few hours later, they were gone. It felt like some monster had come and taken those grains. I couldn't believe it, so I laid out some more grains of rice and closed the door. They were gone a few hours later! Really, it felt like some monster mice were back there.

My husband freaked out! Did I tell you that he has a phobia fear of mice? Well, we enlisted the only one in our family who is not afraid: A3. My baby. We gave him the important title of "mouse hunter." He would check every few hours to see if we had caught any mice.

First, we got sticky traps. The guy at Home Depot told my husband that those would catch the mice. He also warned my husband to get the mice before they bore offspring (every three weeks or so). We stuck grains of rice on the sticky traps and left them out. What did we find? The mice ate the rice and took off. We could see the tiny tracks they had made on the sticky traps.

Tip #1:  When setting out a traditional mouse trap,
                        set it in the middle of an opened and flattened
                       plastic bag. This makes clean up a lot easier.

That is when my husband went back to Home Depot and got traditional snap traps. We put peanut butter and cheese on them. That is when we saw some progress. We caught four mice. I had to pick up a few of them and tightly close the bags. One was caught in the trap and still alive. A1 and A3 had to use tongs to pick up the trap and put it in a ziploc. Boy, did I sterilize those tongs!

Tip #2:  Don't look at their eyes. Trust me on this one.

We had quite a few days of no more mice, and then we found another one. Only this time, the mouse was a lot smaller than the other ones. Not sure if it is a youngling of the other mice. We are finding that those little critters are eating the food off of the traps and getting away! Now, we are re-strategizing.

Tip#3:  Check your house for mice.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Happening #1

Within the past few weeks, a few things have been happening in our home. Boy, oh boy, do I have some stories to tell.

This past winter was brutal in our area. It snowed a lot, and it was f-r-i-g-i-d. I haven't seen this kind of weather in a really long time. This was the type of winter I remember growing up with. There was always a lot of snow to build forts, and the windchill was always below zero. We are in the middle of March, and we are still being threatened by some snow flurries and arctic winds.

Well, one of the first happenings to hit our home was ants. What? It's not even Spring! I know! We never saw winter ants before! Usually, they come mid-Spring to Summer. The ground outside was covered white with deep snow. I found the little pests under the table, and then all over the floor. Freak out - although, I wasn't as freaked out as I used to be.

I started squashing and spraying a vinegar and water solution on them. Did nothing to them. Then, I sprayed full strength vinegar on them: nothing. That is when I remembered something someone had told me a long time ago. I filled a spray bottle with dishwashing detergent and water. I sprayed those pesky ants, and they were dead. Don't ask me how it works. I just know that it works.

If you know me well enough, I hate bugs. But, I think that I'm beginning to get de-sensitized to ants. I find that I don't scream and panic as much.

After cleaning all of my floors, I went full force and put natural and man-made ant traps out. The man-made traps kill the ants as soon as they come out of the traps. The natural ant killer solution lets them drink in the deceptively sweet solution and take it back to the colony. We were talking to the ants and praying that they would take it back to the queen! The ants were gone for a while and then came back a few at a time. I'm still fighting the battle!

Wait until I tell you about the other happenings!

Friday, March 21, 2014


Thank you for your prayers! Unfortunately, my white blood cell count went down to 0.9 (needed at least 1.5 to get chemo). The nurse had to call Dr. K to see what she should do. Thankfully, Dr. K gave the ok. I was a bit shocked that she gave the ok. But, it is because I am going to give myself the Neulasta shot tomorrow, and she wants me to finish the full cycle. The nurse told me to stay away from crowds and to monitor my temperature.

P-L-E-A-S-E pray about the Neulasta shot tomorrow. Pray that the Claritin will help with the side effects and that my immune system will be strengthened.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Treatment #3, Cycle 3 (Hopefully)

Friday is supposed to be the last chemo treatment for my third chemo cycle. With last week's white blood cell count being so low, I am not sure about this week's treatment. I'm calling all prayer warriors to please pray that my levels will be high enough to receive my treatment.

If I do finish this cycle, I will have to give myself a second Neulasta shot on Saturday morning. Please pray that the side effects won't be as horrible as the last time. I am going to try taking Claritin to ease the side effects. Doesn't make sense, but it is supposed to help.

Thank you for your prayers!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Treatment #2, Cycle #3

Last Friday, I went in for my second treatment (third cycle). It was a bit different because the nurse that usually takes care of me took another position at a different hospital. I was so sad, when she told me last week. She was so nice and she took such good care of me! She has treated me for over two years. I will miss her! It is people like Nurse Susan that made my Xgeva shot/chemo experience so much brighter!

Another nurse took me on. She is also very kind and friendly. I've had her several times for my monthly Xgeva shot. She drew my blood and sent it to the lab. The week before, my white blood cell levels had been over 7.0 because of the Neulasta shot. This week, they dropped to 1.2. To get chemo, it has to be 1.5 or higher. The nurse had to call my oncologist to see if I could get my treatment. Thankfully, she gave the ok.

This Friday will be the third treatment and the end of my third cycle. We are praying that my white blood cell counts will be 1.5 or higher. If not, we have to delay another week for the end of my third cycle. Consistent treatment is better than sporadic treatment.

Last Friday, I also got my next Neulasta shot in the mail. Finishing this cycle would be great, but I am not looking forward to this shot again. Dr. K did tell me that taking Claritin before the shot and for a few days after seems to help with the side effects. I guess Tylenol helps also.

Last time, I couldn't do anything for a week. But then I'm reminded: this is nothing compared to other chemo treatments. Someone I know had a 12 hour chemo treatment! T-W-E-L-V-E hour chemotherapy! Perspective. Still have to keep thankful.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't Get Robbed

Last Friday, there was a miscommunication, and I ended up going to see Dr. K when I wasn't supposed to. I was supposed to go this Friday before my chemo. My memory these days…

I talked briefly to my nurse and found out that I'm not the only one who hates the Neulasta shot. After telling her about the severe back pain and bad flu-like symptoms, the receptionist (who was waiting to ask Nurse J a question) commented that all the patients talk, not so nicely, about the Neulasta side effects. Those side effects are supposed to get better with each shot. We'll see.

When I got home, I had to crash and sleep - after eating, of course. Going back and forth from the hospital, wiped me out. But, the rest of the day, I wrestled with my feelings. Haven't had these types of feelings in a long time. I felt as if this darkness was looming around me. I know this sounds weird, but it felt as if it was trying to make me feel "bad." I wanted to cry, but I tried to ignore it and push it aside.

Anyways, that night, we had church. As I sat in the pews getting ready for the service, a flood of feelings of unworthiness, depression, and condemnation, tried to take their place in my heart. I can't tell you how overwhelming it felt. So many thoughts sped through my mind.

Why are you here? 

You don't belong here. 

You call yourself a pastor's wife? 

You're full of sin.

You can't worship God.

But then, I felt as if Jesus whispered, "I paid for all of that." 

And I believed Him.

I had forgotten… once again.

Then, there was: