Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Doing better

Dear friends,

Hey thanks for praying for me if you did. I suspect that the last time I wrote, that I had somehow missed the med I mentioned last time (Effexor), the night before I wrote. It was sitting there, and I thought I took it, and didn't want to risk taking double. But after I wrote my last blog and took my meds that night, I started to feel better- at least the crying and dizzy part.

I saw my internist last Monday. Some of the labs were done and so far I know that my liver numbers are a little elevated and my D is a little low. My white count is up to 4 which is the highest it has been since chemo 4 years ago. 4 is a normal level. Mine has just been low and they told me that is common for some after chemo and radiation. Last week I also collected stool and saliva viles for my integrated medicine doctor and mailed them off. There are so many things they are checking for. I'll have to let you know what they figure out. I will be having appointments to get the results after they are all back in a week or two.

We are gearing up for the Partners International leaders from around the world to come to Spokane on April 13th for a week. We will have 2 ladies staying with us, and I am switching Jesse's room some to make it more user friendly and less teenage boy. Speaking of Jesse, we have gotten some letters with good stories. He writes one story to Greg and me and sends other stories to other family members and has us share them so he only has to write them once. He is working hard. Soon he will be shifting into the "white phase" and at that point will be allowed to use his phone. So we are hoping to hear from him soon. I included his address in my last post. He is asking for any mail anyone wants to send him.

So I am going to sign off now and head to bed. This is Holy Week for us Christians. Our church is having special services each day at noon. Thinking about Christ being made sin for us in our place- was the focus today. Wow. He paid such a high price for us. It is simple and deep at the same time. He knows us all intimately. He even knows my "secret heart" (Psalm 51). I don't even want to admit to myself what is in my secret heart, but He already knows and loves me anyway.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Not so great today...

Hey there,

First of all, please pray for my boy at Army Boot Camp. And if you want to write to him, he would LOVE to hear from you:

PFC Fritz, Jesse
C Co 3-60th INF, Regt (1st PLT)
Fort Jackson, SC 29207

He is doing OK he writes. He left here with a lingering cold and said that he is still dealing with that. He has written a few times. He is 2 1/2 weeks done with his 9 weeks.

It has been a long day. I went to see my integrated medicAdd Imageal doctor yesterday. He was top of his med school class at Harvard and has a practice that integrates traditional medicine with alternative medicine. He listened and thought and put pieces together and ordered a LOT of blood work. I just do not feel well at all. Today I went and had the blood drawn for the tests. It took 3 tries even though the ladies in the lab are the best. My veins were just not cooperating. We got done in about an hour and I was suggesting that I should start paying rent! 7 tubes are being processed. For example, he wants to make sure I didn't pick up some parasite in Africa last summer.

I have been crying on and off all day. Whatever else is going on, I am feeling very emotional. I feel like I do when I forget to take one of my meds (effexor). Ringing in my head. Dizzy and light headed. Feeling like I will pass out and very emotional. I have been crying on and off all day today. The difference is that I didn't forget to take my meds. I think my body is just imbalanced in some way. I will see my internist on Monday about my abdomen soreness, and by then hopefully at least some of the blood work will be back. Meantime, Greg is taking good care of me, and I am laying low.

I visited with a breast cancer survivor friend yesterday, and I told her about how I have layed off most of my supplements for several months. I think I was just burned out. She shared how she feels that way about part of her treatment too. Sometimes you just do all this stuff all the time and you just feel like you can't do it all anymore. You ask yourself what difference it makes anyway. So many doctors have told me they don't put any stock in supplements. Anyway, Dr. Corell is helping me set the "restart" button on my body and I hope to be feeling back on track soon. I would appreciate your prayers for that.

My hand doctor told me last Thursday that there is arthritis in the middle of my right hand that surprised him. It didn't show up in my x-rays in Sept, but it is definitely there now. The only treatment would be a radiologist putting in a shot of cortizone with ultrasound because of where it is. It would be tricky to get in there without bothering any nerves or veins, etc. We decided that we will hope that it just gradually gets better. I put some topical cream on it that I use on my knee, and it really helped....My gyno/urology doctor and I talked about bladder treatments, and if I got the implant that helps deal with the side effects of my interstitial cystitis, it would make any future MRI's for diagnosis impossible. I don't think it's worth it.

Our neighbor had a heart attack yesterday. Greg went to see him tonight. We'd appreciate prayer for Brian. He and Katie have 4 children and he is in his 30's.

Helen from the Gambia spoke in FL on the 17th and Greg told me tonight that the event was amazing. So many were there that the police had to come in and have some move their cars. The police ended up staying for the meeting too. Her story touched so many hearts. I will write more about her later.

Please pray for this country of ours. We are on a precipice. My heart is heavy. But God is in control and nothing can happen outside of His will. He tells us to pray for our leaders. Our growth group prayed for our nation last night. It was good to give our concerns over to the Lord.

God bless-Nancy

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

He's in the Army now!

Dear friends,

Well, my boy is now officially in the army now. He left us at 6:00 a.m. when he when into the courthouse downtown to start his enlistment. They gave him another physical, interviewed him to get information regarding his government security clearance, & planned his transportation to boot camp at Ft. Jackson, etc. Tuesday they flew him to Ft. Jackson, SC.

He called Greg for 3 minutes on Friday and told us that on Tues. he arrived at midnight. They processed them until 4:00 a.m. and sent them to bed- UNTIL 4:15! Then they got up and stood on lines until 10:00 that night! He sent me a postcard that said,"Hello! I'm good. Got my hair cut and didn't sleep. Gotta go! Jesse." His hair was very short when he left, so he must not have any now! Greg told him to remember the big picture and Jesse agreed that is what he is trying to do. He is also trying to stay unnoticed. Where he is, getting noticed means teasing and extra push-ups or some other "bad" thing. His birthday was yesterday and since we don't have his address yet, couldn't send him any greetings. He actually begged us not to. But we did think of him and thanked God for him. Adjua's 19th birthday is on Thursday this week.

We currently are enjoying a visit from Helen, one of our partners from The Gambia. As we met last evening and were getting to know each other, we realized that she had met Jesse when he was there last year. She remembered him. I get to have the fun of introducing her to America some before she heads to a big womens' event in FL next week. She has just begun telling me about her ministry. So far I know that she and her husband head up Inter-Varsity in their country and she is doing many facets of education and ministry related to HIV with women in the Gambia. What a privilege!

Friends are asking me to share about my health, so I will give an update. My right wrist has been hurting quite a bit lately. It is the one I had carpal tunnel fixed in last fall. I saw the hand doctor after I got home from Denver and learned that it is very unusual to be experiencing any pain this many months out. The carpal tunnel symptoms are gone, but I have some swelling and other tenderness in my palm and wrist. Sometimes it hurts a lot. He had me go for an MRI last week and I see him Thursday to go over the results. The nurse said that the report showed a bunch of things, so it isn't a simple PT solution.

My knee is hurting again. The shot has worn off. My knee doctor talked about trying that new kind of shot in my knee that isn't steroids. My friend Deb said it worked for her knee for several years. I will be going to see him sometime in the near future.

I have a sore place in my abdomen. I am fairly certain that it is a result of scar tissue from my TRAM flap surgery 10 years ago. I will talk to my oncologist about it when I see her next month. I see my gyno-urologist next week. I tried taking a very difficult medication to help grow a lining in my bladder. It was hard on my body and had to be taken on a completely empty stomach, which meant 3 hours between eating 3 times a day. After 2 months I decided that it was taking over my life, and giving me extra headaches. My doctor has another treatment she wants to talk to me about. I will let you know more after I find out about it.

One conclusion I have come to lately is that all these little things that are going goofy in my body are mostly (if not entirely) due to the side effects of having chemo twice and radiation once (like the scar tissue from my TRAM flap surgery). One of my doctors told me that not that many women have lived for 11 years after cancer, so even the medical community is learning what the side effects are long-term from these treatments. So the bad news is that there are lots of medical issues to deal with now, but the good news is that I am alive to experience them! I am approaching my 11th anniversary of discovering my cancer the first time, and almost 4 years since the 2nd time. That is pretty cool! And I am pretty grateful!

Thanks for hanging in there and reading all this. I know that there are at least some of you who read this and let me know when it has been a while.

Helen just got home, so I need to sign off and learn more about the Gambia. Blessings- Nancy