Sunday, April 22, 2012

No More Bad Hair Days

Never in a million years did I ever think that I would be blogging about cancer, wigs, green lemonade....anything really, other than decorating, crafting...tidbits of life here and there. I suppose that I blog about what is happening in the here and now and well, cancer is the here and now. It is not easy for me to open up and share about cancer and it's effects...every time I sit down it really does occur to me what a terrible writer I am and sharing my inner most thoughts and feelings is just not easily done.
There are so many of you that have reached out to me with support and understanding, stories, advice, would I be feeling today if all of you weren't out there pulling for me? You all, along with my family are really helping me, more than I could ever put into words.

Last week I started losing my hair and while it was emotional for me, by the end of this week I was just plain aggravated. It had to go, it was coming out in EVERYWHERE, I just had to let it go. So Friday afternoon, after the kids got out of school, I sat on a stool in the middle of the kitchen and my MIL shaved my head. Did I cry? Yes, but not for very long. It seemed to me that I started feeling a weight lifted off of me...that for once, I was choosing to do something, instead of the cancer making choices for me...which it's done for a while now.

My hair a couple of months ago, before I started chemo:

 The day of the shave. Most of it had come out and I shed a few tears.

Right now, I'm feeling ok about it. Although, I am FREEZING all the time now. I am cold natured anyway...shave my head and I'm chilled to the bone! I've discovered a few moles (or as my mother always said: beauty marks) on my head that I never knew about. I've been wearing some of my new hats and playing with my scarves...and there is always the wig that I bought to wear too. Keegan took a few days to warm up to the idea of his 'bald' mom...but now we are making bald jokes and moving right along. 
At first, Logan was a little scared, and even though we had talked to him about losing my hair, I don't think he fully understood...but like most kids, he bounced right back and told me he would use his magic to help me grow my hair back...I believe him too.

This was right after we got done, Keegan looking less than thrilled....we are all in shell shock in this picture! I want to take some pictures all dolled least with some make-up so when this cancer is just a memory I can look back and see how far we've come.
(Justin is not in this picture, but he pretty much had the same look on his face as Keegan did!)

I have started reading a book called Crazy Sexy Diet. It is a book written by Kris Carr who changed her entire life to defeat cancer. It is a powerful book that has offered me a lot to think about and presents a lot of ideas to help ME change my life too.  A lot of things she talks about I never even knew or had heard about. I'm almost done with it, but I've already started implementing some things. I will give up eating certain things (processed meats, refined sugars, dairy, etc.) in order to defeat the cancer in my body and live an overall healthier lifestyle. Have you heard of Kris Carr?

I start my second round of chemo tomorrow. Hopefully, I recover faster than I did last time. Talk to you soon! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Green Lemonade

Thank you so much for all love and support about losing my hair...a lot of you know exactly what I'm going through and I feel better knowing there are a lot of people in my 'virtual corner' :)

You guys know I am not a cook, per say...but I am trying really hard to try to become clean. What does that mean? Well, I've been delving into the world of eating healthy and having a clean body...basically eating right to defeat the cancer. At the beginning of the year (before I knew the cancer had come back), I really wanted to start eating right, and now that the cancer has reared it's ugly head, I am, let's say, a little more determined to begin a healthy lifestyle. A lot of you have share various websites (thank you!) and a good friend of mine told me about Eat To and I have learned a lot reading over there. I bought an inexpensive juicer and tried out a 'green lemonade' recipe. I thought I would share this recipe just in case you haven't heard of it or want to start juicing too.

This recipe calls for the following:

Fist full of Kale (7-8 leaves)

7 Stalks of celery

2 Sweet Apples (cored)

1 Lemon (cut the ends off)

1" of Ginger Root

This was the first time I've ever used a was actually really fun! I was amazed with how much juice can be extracted from veggies! It is really loud and I was really clumsy with it at first, but the more I used it, the better I got.

This recipe yields approximately 12 oz. I read too that by drinking the juice, your body isn't spending energy trying to digest the whole foods, the energy is spent cleansing, I had never thought about that .

Of course, everyone wanted to try it, even Logan...which he did not like it and told me so. :)

For me, it was not bad. I think, like with anything, it will take some time to get use to....but I will get use to...the cleaner I get, the better it will taste. I like it ice cold and with a straw.

I am looking for other versions of juice recipes, I bought a diet book dedicated to eating right, so I'm looking towards getting a handle on my health. With every change in lifestyle, it isn't easy. Giving up things like red meat, whole food, fried foods...yikes! This is a step in the right direction!
If you can believe it (I can't), I do not have any doctor appointments this week! However, my next round of chemo starts next week. Just like they told me...about the time I start feeling better, it would be time to go back. Round two here I come!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Losing My Hair

It has been a lovely week with my sister and niece here. I can't help but think that having my sister here with me this week is an act of God....because this week I have started loosing my hair...she has really been helping me through it~emotionally. I thought it wouldn't effect me, I mean I knew it was going to happen, but I found myself balling and feeling overwhelmed.

Something that I didn't expect, was the strange tingling and what I would describe as 'prickly' feeling all over my scalp. Not total pain, but certainly uncomfortable. I had some ladies in chemo say that exact thing, and they were right. At this point I'm torn between combing it all out daily, or taking the bull by the horns and shave it all off. I've got to let go of the, I'm tired of all the hair everywhere!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Gritty Easter

We had a very low key Easter Sunday. A very small egg hunt which was comprised of Keegan and I hiding two dozen candy filled eggs and then watching as Logan searched for them. Sometimes, during occasions like this, I get sad because of their age difference...years ago it didn't make that much difference...but here recently the difference is painfully evident. I suppose though that Keegan (who is 15) did enjoy hiding eggs a little tougher than I did and then playing the "'re getting warm...warmer...cold...colder...freezing!!..." game.

I decided to sport one of my new hats I was recently gifted. This one is from my MIL's sister and I really love it. Thanks Teresa! I've never worn this style before, but it's really cute. I've been shopping and looking for hats and scarves for when I lose my hair....but I've always loved wearing hats and scarves anyway.

I'm still playing around on Picnik before they officially close on the 19th and this action is called 'gritty'. They have the premium actions available right now (for free) so it's fun to play around.
I am so looking forward to the arrival of my sister later's going to be a great week!
Daisy giving a nice smile for the camera.

I hope you had a wonderful Easter and happy Easter Monday!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Falls And An Update

Happy Easter Weekend! Can you believe it? Easter? Already? The kids got out of school early for Good Friday and because I was feeling pretty good, we headed to 'The Falls' on the outskirts of Joplin. We typically like going here during the fall time because the trees that are now green turn fantastic fall colors and I love the contrast of of the blue/green water and orange/brown colors.....but these complimentary colors are fine by me too :) Everything is completely leafed out and growing here in MO, we are completely submerged in spring.

I've had some doctor appointments and blood work done this past week...white blood cells are 1.7 (normal: 4.4-11.3), hemoglobin is 10.9 (normal is 12.0-15.6) and some other important 'number' that I can't remember what it's for is 815 but needs to be around 1,000. But they told me that all of that is normal after the chemo. So no crowds, stay away from sick people and become a hand sanitizer junkie....which I am anyway. I've been slowly come around, recouping from the chemo...I'm sleeping normally now (instead of all the time) and the headaches and nausea have past. Fatigue is really what is getting me down right now, but that's probably because of the low numbers above.

*Is Logan too cute or what!! I could hardly keep up with him!*

Also, during spring break two weeks ago, I had an appointment with an endocrinologist. After an ultrasound, we discovered I have an enlarged thyroid and a they extracted cells from the thyroid, called 'aspiration'...not the most pleasant procedure...which included a huge bruise on my neck and sickness because of over stimulating the thyroid. Anyway, the results are finally back and they think that it is the cancer too. SO we asked what to do to remove the cyst is typical, but because of the chemotherapy (and low white blood cells) surgery will have to wait.

In happier news: My sister and niece are coming to visit all next week and I am super excited to have both of them here!
I was recovering from surgery the last time they were here, so this time I'm glad to be able to truly visit and do things together.

Check out this moss, the kids think I'm crazy for photographing moss and the precarious place I had to perch in which to get this close...but totally worth it. You know what this says to me? God is awesome!

I'm an ocean girl, but when I see stone, water, sky, trees's like a bonus. I know, I'm a geek.
I've started thinking about planning some kind of getaway after chemo is over...I'm not sure if that's healthy or not (mentally). But I feel like I need some incentive to get me through the next six months. I've only had one round of treatment and I can already feel myself thinking (picture someone pulling stubborn donkey) "I don't want to do that again" and "it's going to take a lot to actually go back knowing what is going to happen afterwards" so it seems like an incentive is a good me anyway :) Like if you make it through ALL your treatments you get to go whale watching in ALASKA! Ha, total dream of mine.
It might work.

I hope all of you have a wonderful, wonderful Easter and a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Plaster Easter Baskets

Easter comes early this year, doesn't it? This weekend! But I still wanted to share a simple project that I created for gift giving. I started with two traditional Easter basket from the dollar store, in traditional shapes and colors. I wanted to try a softer pallet this year.

I discovered 'plaster cloth' a few years ago while reading Kelly Rae Roberts Taking Flight. It is typically used for scenery and masks, but it's uses are endless....Kelly uses it in one of her collages, covering a Styrofoam heart. You can find it in the hobby/train section at Michael's (be sure to use a coupon). I wondered what it would look like covering other things....

The cloth cuts very easily, and I used about 3 inch pieces, dipping in water and laying it on the basket. It is a messy (yet fun) process. I covered the entire basket and let it dry overnight. It took a full package for both baskets

The next day, some of the color had bled through from the basket, I just painted a coat of white craft paint....luckily that worked.

I haven't bought any candy yet, but I filled them with glittered eggs for the time being. You can see the cabbage basket I made in the other one (click HERE to see how to make them)

I like how you can still see the woven look of the basket, and they almost have a paper mache look. A great alternative to a typical Easter basket. I think these would be great if you were into the shabby look, perfect for that...but I do like the soft colors with it.

I glittered some plastic eggs, love the sugary look.

So I'm happy to report, plaster cloth works on at least one more different surface, I wonder what else I can try it on!!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Feeling A Little More Human

I'm going to lay it out plain and simple: I didn't think I was going to make it through my chemo week. When they said the first time would be the hardest, they were not lying. Monday and Tuesday were short three hour days, but Wednesday and Thursday were my six hour drip days. I watched a lot of people come and go, it's astounding how many people this disease effects. I see mostly elderly people, but some people my age and a couple of people very young. Cancer knows no age. I have met the nicest people too, most well into their treatments, offering support and advice. Sharing stories and experiences, really helping me as a newbie. The nurses are fantastic too. It seems like time in the chemo room goes by really slow and they stop to listen. They really want to hear how you are doing, no rushing around in the chemo room. My MIL has been a non-stop force for me this week, she has taken over my household, taken care of my boys and nursed me, she is a real angel on earth, I'm so lucky. I doubt I'll ever be able to express my gratitude.

The effects didn't really start taking over until I was home. My most notable side effects especially after the cisplatin: Constant thirst, severe headache, abdomen pain, nausea and fatigue. Also, with all the fluids they pumped in me, I gained 8 lbs. in two days...needless to say, going to the potty is a new pastime too. :) Most of the nausea is controlled with pills, but I was having a hard time staying ahead of it.

As far as food, the only thing I've been able to stomach is potato soup, which seems kinda strange to me, and Sprite. I haven't even been able to drink coffee either! Boo!

Today, I've been a lot better, I've only slept part of the day and even spent some time outside with Logan. I sat in the shade with my camera while he was 'bird watching' this is one of the cutest shots, too cute at this age!

I have an easter project I've been working on here and there, but it comes so early this year! I'll be lucky if I even get it done at all. Things I'm looking forward to: Going to Keegan's track meet (I missed it last week) and t-ball practice starts, yeah for Spring! I hope my energy levels get better!
Thanks to all of you who continue to send love and prayers.

P.S. On a completely different note, I use Picasa to edit all my photos (always have) and today I noticed that Picasa 'upgraded' and now has all of the same functions that Picnik has (but won't soon!), I thought that I would pass that along if you are sad about the loss of Picnik.