Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day 257

Tuesday we went into the infusion clinic and Sarah got two liters of fluid, even though she received some IV pain medication she didn’t seem to have any relief from her pain in her chest and her head, and to boot she woke up sicker than a dog the next morning. I guess that is what narcotics do for you.

Wednesday, even though she was ill in the morning, she pushed through and was able to go with her mom and her one and only nephew Roman to the children’s museum in Everett. They had lots of fun exploring the museum inside and out, but the one thing they kept going back to was one of Roman’s favorites; the trains! By days Sarah was starting to feel a bit better. However, she still was having a significant amount of pain in her body so a solution was definitely needed.

Thursday she had an appointment with the pain specialist at SCCA. He told her to increase her long acting pain medication to 3 times a day instead of the two. When she first started taking this medication, she was told that if she ever upped the dose she would have a couple of days where she felt quite tired. With the current increase she is feeling very tired, but it has enabled her to get some much needed sleep.

Friday I called the infusion clinic and was able to get an earlier appointment. Lately Sarah has needed to get 2 liters of fluid each visit. Each liter takes about four hours and so when we normally start that process at 6 we end up being there until something like 2 in the morning. They were able to get her in at 1:30 so we happily headed home at about 10:00 went back in for more fluids. This time Sarah opted not to get any IV pain medication although she desperately needed it. However, because she had gotten so sick from it the time before, and because her pain specialist asked her not to she went without.

Saturday Sarah went with me to a silent auction dinner to benefit the booster clubs at Glacier Peak High School. I was hired as the IT guy for the night and just needed to be there to make sure everything ran smoothly. Overall everything was a lot of fun. Sarah and I had a great time walking around and we even bid on a few silent auction items. However, by the end of the night Sarah desperately needed to get home. Sarah’s stomach still isn’t at full strength and so our dinner didn’t sit that well with her. By the time we made it home she was in desperate need of anti-nausea meds.

Sarah spent Saturday night and early Sunday morning tossing and turning. She tried to read, played a game on her phone and got up a few times to stretch her legs and back. Her pain and upset stomach kept her up just about until my alarm clock went off. When my alarm goes off and I look over at my wife who is sitting up smiling I know she didn’t have a good night. Sarah tried to sleep for a couple more hours but sleeplessness and her running mind took over. I know that she has a lot to think about, but I know she has to get some sleep in order to function.

Chemotherapy, surgeries, radiation…they all do some nasty things to your body and Sarah has had her fair share of lasting effects. The battle we are fighting now is getting back to normal when we don’t know what normal is anymore. I’m sure it will come but how long must we wait?

Thanks for reading and sending your concerns via comments that Sarah gets on her phone. She feels very special knowing that her support system is praying at a moment’s notice.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Day 256

Now that Sarah is done with treatment, she thought it would be a good idea to stop taking her long acting pain medication. However, now that it has gone from her system her whole body is hurting. She did not realize how much pain the medication was keeping her from feeling. All the pain and uncomfortable hours has kept her up two nights in a row. She has started taking the pain med again so hopefully after a couple more days she will be able to get some sleep.

We are in the infusion clinic again tonight as planned and will be here for some time. Thanks for your continued prayer and support.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Day 255

Even after a week of celebration for health I still ended up in the infusion clinic. I started feeling a dehydration headache come on and after two nurses asked if I was dehydrated I figured I might as well go in for fluids before the nausea starts. Kirk and I went in at our usual time, 6:15, and ended up staying until 2am! Yikes! It always takes a few tries to get an IV started but that wasn’t what kept us out so long. What ate up the hours was the speed of my IV fluids. My nurse had to use the tiniest needle that they had in order for it to work with my veins. Because she had to use the tiniest needle we had to go super slow with the fluids in order for the vein not to be overwhelmed and blow. Since chemotherapy my veins are like tissue paper and everyone has problems using them. I ended up having 2 liters of fluid to get me back on track. When I was finished we were desperately tired and headed home to get some much needed sleep. I also had a doctor appointment on Friday for a follow up for my blood clots. As it turns out, I have another clot in my foot that I didn’t know about. I’m continuing with the blood thinners but the good news is that my Dr. doesn’t think I need to be on them for the maximum 6 months! Overall I am feeling much better after the follow up visit and the 2 liters of fluid. It’s amazing what a little salt water will do. The rest of the weekend was relaxing…just how I like it. I’m so grateful that God has settled things down enough to rest. Thank you for praying for health and rest for Kirk and I. We are in need of a break and I think I see one on the horizon.

Love Always,

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Day 254

The week of worrying about my blood clot finally took its toll. I hadn’t been getting very good rest but I slept great today. It was wonderful. As you know I have been getting less than 4 hours of sleep on average per night so when my body can sleep for more than that it’s a dream come true.
Kirk came home at “medication time” and gave me my shot. He is so good at it and I am so proud of him. I hopefully only have one more day of shots and then I will continue to take the pills for up to 6 months. Today I went to the lab for a Coumadin blood level test and once again the technicians had trouble finding a vein…funny how I knew that would be an issue. They heated my arm up with pads and hoped for the best but the first poke yielded nothing. More heat and then a second poke. This one had a little better luck; we were getting a good return of blood then all of the sudden…nothing. The vein just clamped off and disappeared. Yeah, you guessed it…more heat. After 2 techs looked up and down my arm for anything they could use I stepped in and showed them my sacred veins that never let me down…I can’t show everyone where they are because my veins wouldn’t be so friendly if I shared the secret. Third poke was a cinch and the lab tech was impressed that I knew my veins so well. The test results should be back tomorrow and I will know if I need to up my Coumadin levels or decrease my levels. I have an appointment with my general care physician tomorrow and he will let me know if I need to change my diet, limit my activity and also how many times I have to get my levels checked a month. Sounds like a big hassle and it is but I’m just happy I am alive and cancer free…it is all how you look at it.

I got to spend some good family time with my mom and dad today because my dad made Kirk and me one of our favorite dinners. Chicken broccoli! It’s one of my dad’s most famous dishes and we flock to the house when it’s on the menu. Thanks Dad for a good meal!

Thanks everyone who keeps me and my family in your prayers. Prayer works and I am living proof of that fact. You are so important to my healing process and I am incredibly thankful for each and every one of you.

Love Always,

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Day 253

I am still doing pretty well on the blood thinners. It is a little scary thinking about the possibility of the clot breaking loose, but we believe that God will keep me from harm. I have been crocheting like a mad woman because I am trying to stay off my leg. After awhile it is hard coming up with new things to do.Today Kirk caught me watching a marathon of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. Don't laugh...she was one tough cookie.

I am getting very excited about regaining my strength. I would be feeling the best I have in a very long time if it wasn't for my leg. Tomorrow I have a lab test to check the level of blood thinner in my system. The results will define what dose of pills I should be on after I am done with the shots. Kirk continues to get better and better at giving me my shots and we are about half way through them. Kirk should really consider a career in the medical field because he has been so great! I'm off to get my shot right now so thank you for keeping me in your thoughts and prayers. I truly cherish all the love that you give.

Love Always,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Day 252

We are doing better...
Kirk is getting the hang of syringes again and I am feeling better from the flu like symptoms I was having. Every 12 hours it’s another poke and another pill…is this ever going to end? I guess not for a while and I should be happy that I am alive because trust me I know life could be worse. I’m so grateful for my husband. He hates giving me each shot but he acts like a pro as he confidently says “Here’s a little poke…done! Are you okay?” What a man I have. Kirk doesn’t go weak in the knees over medical stuff; He only goes weak in the knees for me!

I’ve been having a day full of rest while babying my leg. I don’t like resting, but what’s a girl to do? My leg is pretty painful and I’m hopping more than limping so I spent my day making hats for the Cancer Center in Seattle and catching up on my DVR shows. While watching my shows I saw a bunch of old Christmas commercials and I got bummed out. I missed Christmas this year. I was so sick and in pain I missed getting into the season and enjoying family. We were at the hospital Christmas Eve, Christmas day and every day leading up to New Years. Yuck! I hope next year Santa will bring a Christmas full of joy and health…think I need a bigger stocking?

Thank you for all your continued support through the worst year of our lives. Every comment on the blog and message on Facebook lifts my spirits and always puts a smile on my face. Thanks for sticking with me for the long haul.

Love Always,

Monday, January 17, 2011


Can we get a break...???
After we came home from the ER, Sarah was starting to become more and more nauseous. She fell asleep for maybe an hour, but woke up and immediately threw up uncontrollably. We made the decision to go back into the ER since Sarah was now most certainly dehydrated. They were only able to marginally control the nausea, and after she had received some fluids, Sarah decided she wanted to go home. When we finally made it home the throwing up continued a couple of times, but she then went to sleep and slept for about four hours. After our nap, I woke Sarah up and we headed off to her ultrasound appointment. Even though we are dealing with flu-like symptoms, we still needed to handle the pain in Sarah's leg. After a thorough examination it turns out that Sarah does have a clot in her leg. It is superficial but still needs to be treated as clots can move to the lungs, heart, or brain and pose serious risks. Later in the afternoon, we saw a doctor who prescribed treatment for Sarah's blood clot. Over the next five days, I have to give her injections of blood thinner in her belly twice a day. After that, she will have to be on oral blood thinning medication for six months. Six months seems like a long time to us, but hopefully it will keep any additional clotting at bay. At the end of the day we may have found the reason for Sarah's nausea. Her mom and dad were both similarly sick today so the three of them must have gotten a bug. After a few hours Sarah began to feel much better. Let's hope it is the same for her parents too.

Please pray that we don't get overwhelmed by the lasting negative effects of Sarah's cancer treatment. All we want is for our life to get back to normal, but it seems like it will never come.


Prayer Request Update

2AM: We are now home from the ER and have an update for you all. The doctor did not think it was a blood clot, but to be sure he gave Sarah a twelve hour blood thinner and ordered for her to have an ultrasouund of her leg tomorrow. We will update you when we know more.

Thanks for praying,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Urgent Prayer Request!!!

My pain is getting worse so we called the on-call doctor to see what we should do. Since the pain is getting worse and has not gotten any better over the last couple days she said she would feel the best if we went to the emergency room to get it taken care of now. They will most likely ultrasound my leg and if they find a clot put me on a blood thinner or prescribe some oral blood thinner. Please pray for a quiet night in the E.R. and a clean bill of health. The last couple times the E.R. has been quite mad house so we will need an intervention of peace. E.R. Here We Come!

Love Always,

Day 251

Say a little prayer for me…
Okay I am doing fine but have a little something I am worried about. I am having a pain in my lower right leg that has my insides churning. Ever since I have had to get creative and try IVs in my legs I have had severe pain in both of them but my right leg is getting worse. I am told that it could just be vein irritation due to the IVs that had to be put into my ankles or it could be a more serious condition such as a blood clot. My mom who is a nurse is siding on blood clot because of my symptoms so I am a bit worried. Kirk is going to be calling the doctor’s office to get an appointment or if they think it is serious hopefully I will get right in. I’m almost to the point of needing crutches because my leg hurts so badly and I look very silly hobbling around. I’m kind of bummed out that pain is trying to take away my smile of being totally done with the “tough” parts of cancer treatment but heaven knows I will keep my smile on no matter what. I will let you know what transpires with my leg…let’s pray that whatever it is that it will not be serious and that it will resolve itself.

Tonight is my congratulatory dinner with my family. All my parents and siblings will be there plus a special little nephew. My nephew is pretty darn special to me. Roman was 6mo old when I was diagnosed but did that stop the little boy from being there for me? He’s part of the Hawkins clan so of course not. He has been to the Cancer Center for many chemotherapy treatments, visited me when I have been in the hospital, came to surgeries and been my tiniest fan rooting me on. I better give my sister Bethany kudos because Roman couldn’t get far without her! Thanks Bets for all your love! All my family has been so supportive to me and I couldn’t have done it without them. Driving me to midnight prayer. Cool house cleaning. head shaving…My family has done it all so tonight is supposed to be about me but really I have to give it up to my family. I was probably not the sweetest in all my moments of need but thanks for sticking by me never the less and fighting the fight with me…sometimes even for me. I love all of you and couldn’t have made it this far without each and every one of you. Thank You!!!

Love Always,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Day 250

Five down...Zero to go:
Can Sarah get a whoop whoop? Today was Sarah's last radiation treatment and she wanted to go out with a bang. I didn't even think to do anything for the radiation oncology staff, but Sarah is always thinking of others. She loved everyone in the radiation oncology department so much so she decided to bring in cookies for everyone. They were always so blown away by Sarah's great smile and generosity throughout her treatment, but were very floored to see she had brought in a gift for everyone. One of the bakeries we stopped at had designer cupcake so I bought Sarah a lemon one with "Congratulations" on top. She saved it for after treatment, but it started the celebration even before it officially began.

Today was not a day overshadowed by cancer, but instead it was a day of rejoicing. Sarah ws excited all day because in her mind she was counting down the seconds to victory...victory at last. Everyone at SCCA celebrated righg along with us. There were hugs and congrats all around from Dr. Kim, the Nurses, the radiation therapists, and even the front offipce gals. Dr. Kim said she was incredibly proud of Sarah for finishing strong. It was such a wonderful time that our cheeks hurt from smiling so hard. Sarah has a follow-up appointment in a month for them to congratulate her on her progress.

After Sarah's radiation treatment we began heading toward home, but we made a few special stops on the way home. We first went to Pike Place Market for some flowers. Most flowers are out of season, but we still had alot of fun. Sarah and I have a love for Seattle that will never die.

Next we stopped at DSW where Sarah had the run of the place to find some new shoes. She had only planned on getting one pair, but I insisted that she deserved to get two. Sarah was very excited and flew from shoe to shoe like a beautiful butterfly. I then had to stop by work and take care of one item. My office is moving from one high school to another. I had to quickly pack up my things and move them to my new office. I didn't expect Sarah to help me at all but she insisted. I again was floored that my sweet girl is alwyas thinking of others and no matter what is raring to help in any way she can.

The last special stop we made was dinner. We went for a simple dinner, but one that Sarah has been craving for weeks...Greek from Kafe Neo in Marysville. Let me tell you this girl goes crazy for a lamb gyro and greek fries. After dinner we headed home and came into our apartment, turned on the heat, and settled in for a night of reflection on the past year and anticipation of the coming year. Because my job is changing for the better and Sarah's treatment has finally come to an end, we feel like we are both getting a new beginning. It is a wonderful feeling to say the least. A huge weight has been lifted from our shoulders.

One fantastic development is that Sarah has not needed to go to the infusion clinic this week. We are hoping that her body will now be strong enough to fight things off on its own without any help. Sarah was having a bit more pain than desired after her treatment so I had her take her long acting mophine, her short acting morphine liquid and an anti-nausea med just to be safe. The day will come very soon that she won't even need these meds anymore and will be 100% pain and nausea free. My wife fought cancer and won with her arms in the air celebrating her victory. I ask you all if she could take on cancer with the amount of resolve and positive attitude that she had, is there anything this girl won't be able achieve? I think not...

We still have more to come including reconstructive surgeries, hormone therapy, and lots of recovering from this last year, but please celebrate the victory with us today. We parise God that we made it through bruised, but not broken. God is the only one who could have given Sarah the strength to fight. We thank you all for keeping us so close to your hearts this past year. We have seen nothing but support and unfailing love from all of you. Christ is loving us through you.

Thank You!!!

Day 249

Four down…One to go:
We are so excited that Sarah has completed all but one of her radiation treatments. She will finish @ 11:30 today and after that the celebration will begin. I am going to make today all about Sarah. To start with we are going to go to Pike Place Market and buy some white flowers. Sarah loves the flowers from Pike Place because they remind her of her wedding flowers. I can’t tell you the joy it brings to her to have flowers at home every day. After that, we will begin heading north. Our next stop will be Designer Shoe Warehouse at the Northgate Mall. What girl doesn’t like new shoes? Sarah definitely does and I will be getting her a pair or two to celebrate. Who knows what little fun activity we will think of next, but later on Sarah and I are going to have dinner to celebrate the end of her treatment!

This week has turned out 100% better than I ever thought it would. Staying at the hotel was a really great thing for Sarah this week. There have been some uncomfortable nights for Sarah, and even though at times she hasn’t slept real well she has made it through. Sleepless nights have now turned Sarah into the “Queen of Infomercials.” She can repeat them word for word and is very excited for our appliances at home to fail so she can go “shopping”! Overall the hotel has taken what could have been a bad week, and made it a little more bearable. However, Sarah’s skin is turning red again and her doctor warned that it could continue to get a little worse over this next week. Please pray that this is not the case. We want Sarah’s skin to permanently heal and not get any worse.

Sarah and I would like to extend a huge Thank You to Dr. Kim and the SCCA Radiation team. What they do has a truly awful effect on people, but they make up for it with their kindness and great concern for your situation. I cannot imagine a better place for my wife to have gone through this final phase of her treatment. Thank You!!!

Thanks for all your prayer and support this was needed greatly and we knew we could count on you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Day 248

Three down...Two to go:
Sarah is well on her way. She gotten through three of her five remaining treatments and is doing great! The week off combined with the stay at the hotel has really helped her ability to cope. She was able to get a great night's sleep last night which always makes things better.

Sarah is enjoying doing something fun after each treatment. It puts a positive spin on our time down here instead of a negative one. Last night we did dinner and a movie and tonight we took SCCA's free pass to the Pacific Science Center. Even though it is sort of for kids we had great time just being together. Sarah took my picture with the world's biggest guitar and Sarah basked in the wonder of the butterfly exhibit. She had two beautiful butterflies land on her and she just enjoyed seeing all the different species. Sarah read at the exhibit that when a butterfly lands on you, it means good luck. Hopefully it means that this will be the last time in her life that she will require any kind of cancer treatment. To cap it all off, on our way out Sarah had a unique opportunity that not many, including myself would have taken advantage of. How many of you can say that you have touched a Madagascar hissing cockroach? Well Sarah now has. She faced her fear and triumphed! I on the other hand would not touch a cockroach with a ten foot pole. After the Science Center, we wanted to grab Chinese food for dinner. Sarah had asked her radiation therapists where the gem of the city was, and they both gave the same answer. Judy Fu's Snappy Dragon. Let me tell you...It was some of the best Chinese we have had. Way to go Judy Fu! Their barbecued pork reminded me of my Uncle Koos's. Grandma I know you're reading this so please remind me to ask either you or Uncle Koos for his recipe. At the end of dinner, our fortune cookies came and oh man...Sarah and I both could eat like twenty of those. Along with the good luck of the butterfly landings, our fortunes capped off the evening and sent us on our way back to the hotel. We are settling down now for the night and Sarah is making adult hats for the cancer center. She has four completed hats next to her and she is finishing her fifth right now!

Exciting News!
This morning Sarah was getting dressed and in the process realized that she is starting to get some feeling back in her chest where it was once numb since her surgery in September. We hope that she continues to regain feeling in her numb areas (mostly the right side around the back of her arm and side of her chest) and retains that feeling even after her reconstructive surgeries.

Thanks for praying for us this week! God has been gracious and so far things have gone better than we expected.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Day 247

Two down…Three to go!!!
Sarah has gotten through the two additional treatments that her doctor wanted her to. Woohoo!!! The next three treatments are nothing but icing on the cake. My sweet girl definitely deserves some much needed recognition for being such a trooper this whole horribly long year. Her cancer treatment has taken to her right to her breaking point. She is so strong that all she needed was one week to gather herself and she was ready to stare treatment in the face and say, “Nothing will keep me down.” I am very proud that even though her doctor told her she could be done with only two more treatments instead of five, she decided to finish and go all the way. Sarah said, “I don’t only have myself to think about, but I have family, my husband, and my future children to think of.” I t was for that selfless of all reasons that my Sarah has mustered the strength to complete her treatment. In the end it will bring her a great sense of achievement. Moving forward she will be able to say that she did every treatment possible so that she could be around for the ones that love her. After this past year, I truly believe that nothing will keep my Sarah down.

Now to happier thoughts…We are here at the hotel and let me tell you it has made things so much easier for Sarah…(and myself). The hotel has so many great amenities and it seems like we discover something new that’s free every day. They have free full breakfast (not just continental), free full dinner on weeknights, as well as free cookies, hot cocoa, and coffee in the lobby 24/7. We have a wonderful room that looks out at Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill. At this very moment we are looking out our window and watching as a thick blanket of snow covers downtown Seattle. It is truly beautiful to see!

Tonight we used the movie tickets we got at Christmas and decided to have a date night at the movies! It was great to get out and do something normal for a change. I can’t wait until Sarah is back at full strength and we can return to doing all the things we enjoy like dinner with friends, weekends away, and date nights just the two of us. We both desperately want the fun to return.

We are looking forward to 2011 being a better year and to getting back to normal. Thanks so much for reading!


Monday, January 10, 2011

Day 246 #2

A note from Sarah:
I won’t be a hero and say it wasn’t hard walking into Seattle Cancer Care Alliance today because it definitely was. It was hard but it felt good to walk in those doors to finish something I had started. My SCCA day started with a visit with my Doctor. Dr. Kim is such a great woman and she genuinely cares about how I have been doing so when she about jumped out of her skin because of how good my skin looked I got a boost of confidence that I am going to come out of radiation looking fantastic.

The rest from Kirk:
Sarah started writing this post but very quickly became too tired to continue. I know that eventually Sarah will feel ok, but it has been such a long time since she has that I almost can’t remember. It is good to hear that as she wrote above she knows after these treatments are over her body will start to return to its normal state. It has been great for Sarah to have this past week and a half off from treatment. It gave us some time to realize what it will be like to not go the hospital so much. Oddly enough the hospital has become the norm not the exception. I am sure Sarah would agree, but I would be just fine if I never stepped foot inside another hospital again…ever.

We are doing as well as possible down here in Seattle. We have a really nice room with a great view of Lake Union and Queen Anne Hill. It was nice for Sarah to not have to sit in traffic for an hour or so all while her pain creeps up from the day’s treatment. Instead we just dove 45 seconds to the bottom of the hill and went into our hotel room. There Sarah was able to immediately crawl into the nice bed and sleep off some of the pain. I hope that staying right here on the SCCA campus will prove to make these last…well …only 4 (now)…treatments as easy as possible. At the main desk at SCCA, there are some free passes to numerous attractions in Seattle. If Sarah is up to it she would like to try and take advantage of this. She so desperately wants to start “living” her life again and it shows more than ever here at the tail-end of her treatment.

A funny story…at least to us…
Last night Sarah was just getting into bed and she looked over and saw what looked like 2 white Good and Plenty candies on my bedside table. I had been eating these the night before and had left a few there for later I guess. Sarah grabbed the first one, popped it in her mouth and was loving it…mmmm Good and Plenty. Sarah couldn’t help herself, and sneakingly reached for the second one. She threw it in her mouth, but this time was horrified to find that this one was not in fact a second white Good and Plenty but her Tylenol she needed to take. She found out the hard way that Tylenol definitely does not have a candy coating. I guess next time she tries to sneak and eat my Good and Plenty, she’ll think twice. We had quite a laugh. Maybe it’s kind of a “had to be there” story, but Sarah thought it was worth sharing.

Now Sarah is trying as hard as can be to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. She is finding that the last few radiation treatments really brought on the fatigue she had not had up to this point. Thanks for reading and please pray that Sarah’s will stays strong. I know it must take a lot of mental, emotional, and physical strength to go through what she has gone through this year. My wife is one tough cookie!


Day 246 #1

We will be leaving for Seattle in a little while. Please pray for Sarah that she will have a peace about starting treatment and that her skin would not get as bad as it was before. She desperately wants to be done with all of this, but she knows it is important to finish her treatment.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Day 245

Today I woke up feeling a little under the weather. Maybe it’s the upcoming week of radiation or maybe it’s the little sleep I am getting. Either way I was not up for anything to do with being up out of bed. I am looking forward to being in Seattle for the next few days because like it or not it is a mini vacation and I have to be grateful for each and every one that I get to enjoy.

My parents have Baby Roman overnight so of course we made an effort to go see my sweet nephew while he was hanging out with G-pa Jim and Nana Barb. He was sleeping when I came over and I was itching for him to wake up so we could play! I checked in on him whenever I heard a little movement and finally when I couldn’t handle it anymore and the excuse of “if he sleeps anymore he won’t sleep tonight” came up I jumped at the opportunity to “help” him wake up. His eyes opened up a little and the first thing he saw was his Auntie Sarah smiling big and just aching to play. We started with little games like peek-a-boo and very quickly our little games turned into running around the kitchen and living room chasing each other. My parents are technically the babysitters but what is it called when the Auntie and Uncle baby sit for the babysitters who are going out to dinner with friends? I thought what a chance for me to get in some extra special time with Baby Roman while my parents enjoy a dinner with friends! You know we jumped at that opportunity so the babysitter becomes the dinner date and the visitors become the new babysitters…just the way I like it. Now it is dinner time, and the boy is enjoying one of his favorite meals; Graduates for Toddlers ravioli. He quickly finished that and we are on to chicken soup…oh wait he doesn’t seem to like that at all. Well, since I am his auntie and not mommy I will give him his dessert which will be strawberry applesauce. Okay that was a hit but I think it was more a hit with me than Baby Roman and I finished off the cup with little help…oh well…baby food is just good. Uncle Kirk is taking over with trying a bit more of the chicken soup and clean up. Lucky me I got out of clean up! Baby Roman is showing signs of winding down for a little nap or for the night so we might all snuggle up for a Disney movie and all drift off to dream land and wait for the first string of babysitters turned dinner partners to return.

Thanks for reading about my uneventful yet eventful evening.

Love Always,

Friday, January 7, 2011

Day 244

It’s official…
I’m officially on the schedule for radiation next week. Yah! Right? I guess I should be happy that my treatment is nearing the finish line but come on can you see why I’m not jumping up and down? I’m sure you can.

I talked to my doctor today about finishing up and man it was a tough phone call. My skin is just starting to look good and I just told her I wanted to do all of my remaining 5 treatments! What was I thinking! I know what it was…I want to come out of this situation being able to say I did everything possible for the sake of my longevity. My doctor said that she would be comfortable only doing two more treatments, but I am not going to let an additional three treatments hold me back from keeping my head held high to cross the finish line. Dr. Kim reassured me that my skin that has now started to heal will not get as bad as it was. It will be disappointing for me to see any setback in my skin’s recovery, but I only have 5 treatments left and I am determined to finish them. Kirk and I will be staying down Seattle to make it as easy as possible for me to get through my remaining treatments. Having a hotel practically on the SCCA campus will allow me to get to all of my appointments without having to be stuck in traffic, if I have any setbacks in my health I will be right there for my doctor’s to get me immediate help, and it will also allow me to relax during this last week of radiation treatments.

We are at the infusion clinic now and like always they had a bit of trouble getting an IV started. They mentioned that I should get my chest port put back in, but with my luck as soon as I do that magically I won’t need to come to the infusion clinic anymore. However a nurse from the emergency department came up to try her hand at starting an IV. She decided to try a needle that is used in pediatrics. I guess the needle and catheter are half as long. Immediately she achieved success! I will now be asking for that type of needle whenever I have to have an IV. I joked to my nurse about this being our date night, but technically…it kind of is. We’re in a nice quiet room in the corner, there is low light, and we brought dinner. The warm blankets and ice chips are just an added bonus. It is funny how your perspective changes when you have had to spend so much time in the hospital. You really know where the “nice” places are. For example, the infusion clinic is like a five star hotel compared to the emergency room which is like a “No Tell Motel” complete with “the horror story.”

I am hoping that this next week will not be more than I can handle, but instead will be a great finishing touch on my cancer story. Thanks for journeying with me on this road of breast cancer! I could not have done it and will not be able to continue without your support.

Love Always,

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Day 243

A mix up…literally
After getting out of the hospital one of the prescriptions Sarah was given was for a liquid pain reliever. She has had such a problem with regular pain pills and nausea we were desperate for another option. Our local pharmacy didn’t have the liquid ingredients to mix up so they just gave us the pills as the replacement. I have since had to chase down the liquid version. We asked SCCA and they gave us a new prescription and filled it at their pharmacy. Tonight is the first night Sarah is taking this liquid version since she has gotten out of the hospital and we are hoping it gives her a little extra relief.

Sarah has had a week off of radiation so far and already her skin has improved by leaps and bounds. Every day when I get home from work I am amazed to see the progress. 70-80% of her skin is starting to look like normal skin again. Hopefully Sarah’s skin will almost completely heal by Monday making it a little easier for her to continue her final treatments.

Thank you for praying. Thank you for caring. Thank you for being there for both myself and my wife. I am so grateful to have a support system that stretches so far.


Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 242

Rest and Relaxation...
Today Sarah had a day of much needed rest. She and the couch were quite close friends. As we posted yesterday, Sarah’s radiation has been postponed until Monday. With the week off, Sarah is looking forward to some R&R. Just in the couple days Sarah has had off, her skin has started healing. There are a couple of areas under her arm that even look like normal skin again and aren’t raw. Sarah’s doctor did tell us that her skin would heal as fast as it broke down, but I was surprised to see her progress when I got home from work. This doesn’t mean that her tissues under the surface aren’t still irritated and painful, but at least we are seeing how quickly Sarah’s skin will bounce back.

We capped off the day by having dinner with Sarah’s parents, but that was cut a little short when Sarah said she was starting to have a little more pain than she would like. We quickly headed home and got in comfy clothes, cuddled on the couch, and are trying to settle down for the night.

It would be our hope that Sarah’s skin would heal so much by Monday that finishing the last 2-5 treatments won’t take such a huge toll. In order for Sarah to finish she needs to feel like her body can handle it. Our biggest prayer need right now is strength and quick healing.

Thank You,

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 241

Overwhelmed, Sick, and Tired…
Those three words sum it up in a nutshell. Even though they were finally able to come up with a drug regimen that would help with the pain Sarah has been having, that doesn’t help her poor skin. Almost the entirety of the right side of Sarah’s chest has majorly blistered leaving her raw. Sometimes she will just be sitting on the couch and her chest will start to bleed. I got a panicked phone call from Sarah today. The bottom line is: she is absolutely at her wits end with radiation and told me that even though she only has five more treatments slated, she would not be physically able to continue them. She said her skin is just too raw and painful. I talked with her doctors about this and when we went to see them today they had a few suggestions. They are trying to get the total dose of radiation up to the point that their research shows it to be successful. Sarah is a mere two treatments away from that number. They would like to be able to get five more just to go the extra mile, but Sarah may not make it that far. After looking at the extent of Sarah’s skin breakdown, her doctor said that she is in the top ten of the worst cases she has seen. Yikes! The wounds are clean, but the breakdown is extensive. Because of the worsening skin and Sarah’s dwindling coping skills, the doctor suggested that Sarah take a bit of a break. She is going to call us on Friday and see how Sarah is doing. If her skin has healed some and Sarah feels up to it, she would like to continue the treatments on Monday doing at least two and more if Sarah can handle it. We are not sure what this next week will bring. Sarah wants to finish her treatments, but needs to feel like she is able to withstand the “torture.” We most likely will be staying in the hotel on SCCA’s campus to try and make the last few radiation treatments as hassle-free for Sarah as possible.

Please pray for Sarah to get some sleep. It is very difficult for her to find a comfortable position when her whole chest is raw. She has tried every position imaginable, switched sides of the bed, tried the recliner, then moved to the couch; nothing is working. I can’t even imagine having to cope with something like this, and as Sarah’s doctor pointed out today Sarah has been through one of the toughest rounds of chemo, an incredibly invasive surgery, and 99% of an extremely aggressive dose of radiation. That is a lot for anyone to handle. The doctor added that while Sarah has been an incredibly good “sport,” everyone has their breaking point. Sarah has truly either reached or is very near to reaching hers.

Thanks for supporting my sweet girl! Please Pray…

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Update 2...

Sarah has been here at the hospital since Wednesday night. While she has been here the doctor's have been working to find a plan of medication that will address Sarah's pain and keep it a level she can deal with. Yesterday morning Sarah woke up and her pain was down from a 7 or 8 to a 4 or 5. Yes! They had finally found a combo of medication that would control her pain. The best part is that everything they used she can get a prescription for and take at home. This is fantastic news for Sarah! She now has a medication plan that will control her pain at home. Because she is doing so well they will be sending her home today.

Even though we now have her pain under control, Sarah still has five more radiation treatments left. Please pray that Monday through Friday will go as well as possible and that Sarah's skin breakdown will not worsen.