Thursday, February 28, 2008

At least I know my heart is beating!

Dear friends,

The last time I wrote, I was up with an ear ache. It is now 15 days since my left ear filled up and about a week and a half since my right one did. I am at maybe 1/2 to 1/3 level of being able to hear. I am missing lots of conversations going on around me and feel for the deaf and hard of hearing. Wow. I also can hear my heart beating in my head, but the rhythm is a little different in each ear which is driving me a little crazy. It impresses me how regular and hard my heart works. God invented some amazing systems when He designed the human body. I am very ready for my hearing to come back, however.

I went to the doctor for the second time and am now on steroid nasal spray to help clear up my sinuses and ears. Antibiotic didn't touch it. If I still can't hear in another week and a half, he will refer me to an ENT doctor. There has been some ear pain and terrible headaches, but I did go to church this week and to Bible study and the grocery store yesterday. So although I am sleeping a lot, I am getting some things done. Thank you for praying for my ears. It is such a small thing in the scheme of things. A chance for me to learn patience.

My colonoscopy went well. They are right that the prep is worse than the procedure. I had one pollop (sp?) and a lot of pockets which were not too deep. I should find out tomorrow the pathology on the pollop, but my experience is that when it is bad, they call you sooner. So I am not concerned about it.

On Monday I also saw my Integrative Medicine doctor. Dr. Valley is fantastic. Very smart and kind and is helping me with supplements and with my cholesterol, etc. One medication I am on for the rest of my life (Femara) is causing it to go up. I take that to help me avoid further cancer. But it has the side effect of bone density loss and increased cholesterol. Anyway, Dr. Valley ordered some blood work that he reviewed with me. My liver is doing better so I am now allowed to do my candida diet for a few months.

I have a yeast overgrowth in my body called candida. Lots of you know what that is, but I will tell you a little about it just in case. I also had this 3 years ago and got rid of it by doing a special diet and taking an antifungal for a few months. Cancer treatment in '06 included steroids for anti-nausea and antibiotics and chemo, etc., that allow candida/yeast to flourish. So I have known I had it again since before we moved lat summer, but my liver wasn't doing well enough to handle flushing out the candida when it dies. It is a strain on the liver to do that. Now that my liver numbers are better, Dr. Valley gave me the go-ahead. This might also help to lower my cholesterol. It did the last time. Last time I also lost 25 lbs. doing the candida cleansing. I don't need to loose much this time, but hope I will feel better when I am done. I have been very tired since my last cancer episode.

Tomorrow I see my oncologist for a check up. Greg might be able to come with me and meet Dr. Sienko, as the oncology office is a few hundred yards from the Partners International office. My physical therapist (for my shoulder which is doing great by the way), chiropractor, Dr. Valley, and my internist, all want Dr. Sienko to find out why my right side is hurting. A place on one of my ribs hurts when palpated, and also when I move certain ways. I used to get a stabbing pain once in a while, and I thought maybe my rib was out of joint or something, but it has gotten more frequent and has been hurting more and more. Now it is every day, almost all day. The oncologist's rule I learned almost 9 years ago is, "If something hurts and gets worse and not better in 2 weeks, come and see me."

You can guess where my head goes when that happens. I try to steer it away from the idea of cancer. Bones is one of the places breast cancer metastasizes to. But then I remember that the Lord is the author of my days, and He gives me peace when I remember that each day any of us has here on earth is a gift from Him. This life is so brief in the scope of eternity. But I do want to be totally His each day and not worry about what might be coming in the future. It could be something other than cancer that is not serious. God can heal it. But since I have had cancer twice, I sometimes wonder if that battle is looming again around the corner. If the worst that can happen is starting my stint with Him in eternity, then there is NOTHING to worry about!

So you can join me in prayer. Let's pray for God's perfect will, and for healing for my ears, sinuses and right side. And wisdom for Dr. Sienko. He might order a scan. Much of my prayer is also praise for the wonderful friends He has brought into my life. I am so very blessed, with amazing kids and a great husband and church and neighbors and Partners...I could go on all night, but I think I need to sleep. I am grateful for you too. Any and all who read this.

By the way, Erin, who we bought this house from, commented on my last blog entry that she saw 2 moose that day hanging out by her house. Pretty cool.

Blessings- Nancy

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Isaw a moose with my own eyes!

Dear friends,

On Valentine's Day, Greg and I drove the loop down by the Little Spokane River just to see deer and maybe a moose. It was the end of the afternoon. Greg saw some cars pulled over so we went to investigate. And there it sat! A full fledged moose. There was a fence between us and it was sitting down, so we got to watch it for a while without having to worry about it coming closer. Greg said they have lost their antlers already, so we don't know if it was a male or female. Exciting for me! It was on my list of things to see in my life.

I am up early because I have a pretty bad earache in my right ear. I have done all the suggestions on web md, and the pain has decreased a little. I have had a sick week. Very sore throat on Monday, then to my sinuses, then all that and my left ear closed up, a cough joined the lineup and now my right ear hurt a lot! I was hoping to go to church, but we will have to see.

My surgeon called to tell me that the MRI matched the ultrasound and that there appears to be no cancer in the new scar tissue on my left side. So I will see her again in six months unless something else comes up. That is a praise. My cancer looks just like scar tissue, but it would have extra blood supply if it were cancer, and that just wasn't there.

I am scheduled for a colonoscopy on Thusday, so I have adjusted my diet for that for the next few days. Greg had one last week and was totally clear. He turns 50 today and I am feeling sad that I am sick on his birthday. We were going to go look around at Cabella's which just opened near here. He had a big celebration at the office for his 50th. All sorts of 50 jokes and black balloons, etc. I will post some pictures later.

Well, I think I might be able to get to sleep now, so I will say goodnight. Blessings- Nancy

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A moose on our street!

Dear friends,

On Saturday when Greg went out to clear snow and ice away from drains with the neighbors, he spotted moose tracks! 6-7 inches long. They went up the side of the street and around the corner and up the next street. One of my goals is to see a moose in person, and although I didn't see it, I am closer to my goal than I was a week ago. There is so much snow in the mountains that they are coming down into populated areas more than normal this year. My friends know to call me if they see one so I can possibly get a glimpse.

The last time I wrote we had just gotten to Orlando for the Call2All Congress. The congress was very inspirational. The worship was excellent and we enjoyed fellowship with pastors and mission leaders from around the world, as well as a few former co-workers and friends. It was so great for Greg to be there to represent Partners in that setting. He was able to share what Partners is doing in the least reached parts of the world with indigenous ministries. As agencies were strategizing ways to get the last 600+ groups reached, it was good for Greg to be able to offer information about what our partner ministries might already be doing amoung these groups.

The schedule was demanding and we stayed 40-60 minutes away, so I got pretty tired. I felt sick on Thursday that week and actually took a 2 hour nap on 4 seats up in the balcony of Northland Church while Greg attended a round table discussion. We saw a preview showing of the Ben Stein movie called Expelled. It was very powerful. Ben Stein was actually there. It is being released by the same company that did The Passion. It will be relased in theaters in April. Also, we heard about a new website about to be debuted called YahWay. It is similar to Yahoo but being done by Christians.

After the conference we visited Greg's Uncle Fred and Aunt Beth who have a winter home in The Villages north west of Orlando. Allison was able to meet us and we had a relaxing time with them and her until we left for home at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday the 3rd. Jesse ended up having the entire week off from school because of snow and had a great time with Andrew and his friends.

Allison is in the home stretch and graduation is April 27th at Southeastern. Her student teaching is in full gear. Greg and I hope to go for her graduation. Thank you for praying for her and our other kids.

I have had some medical check ups. My hysterectomy/rectocele has healed well, but she told me to be careful of lifting and to avoid it when I can for the rest of my life. Also, now that my rectum is back where it is supposed to be, my bladder is decending into the viod where my rectum was. I am not planning to do anything about that, and so far it isn't a problem.

I had an ultrasound last week to check the scar tissue on my left side. It is new since last May and is from radiation. I learned that it usually grows for about 1 1/2 years and then stops. It has been 13 1/2 months since I finished radiation. I also learned that if there were cancer in my scar tissue, there would be an active blood supply there. The ultrasound indicated that it is just scar tissue, but my surgical oncologist also wanted me to have an MRI to make sure the ultrasound picked up everything. If after comparing them, the ultrasound showed everything, next time she can check it with just the ultrasound which is much cheaper. I had the MRI yesterday.

The MRI people had me positioned like Superman flying for 40 minutes which has made my shoulder sore. But I am sure that is just temporary. My shoulder is doing well and after PT next week, I am going to be able to finish my therapy at home. My range is good, but I just need to strengthen my shoulder for over the head reaching. I forget a lot of days that I even had my shoulder fixed.

I will see my oncologist later this month. I tried going off my Femara for two weeks to see if I would feel less achy. There was no change, so I am back on Femara and my oncologist will have to see if he can figure out what is going on. I had blood work done which will hopefully give him some clues. My integrative medicine doctor and breast surgeon are also planning to see me in the next few weeks. I would appreciate your prayers for me to have pereverence. Greg and I were talking over the weekend and when thinking about it, I couldn't think of the last time I felt good. I feel like I got hit by a truck most days. We are tired of all the doctor visits, and would love to turn the corner from that...for me to feel good and have energy again. I have a bad sore throat today and spent the day resting.

Greg turns 50 on Sunday. He got Geritol outside his office yesterday and a deck of "Uh Oh, Five O!" cards today. The staff are having fun teasing him! He is such an amazing guy. It is an honor to be his wife. This summer it will be 25 years. I remember his 25th birthday back in Pasadena.

I need to get to sleep, but know that it was important to get this done today as I haven't written for 2 weeks. God bless you! I will write soon and let you know how the MRI results come out.
Blessings- Nancy