When Your Life Hits a Wall

Well….. here we are.  Faced with a challenge that I thought I would never have, but here it is.  It really does hit you like a brick wall.

This is going to be the area where I really just ‘journal’ what has been going on and how I feel about it.  This first post will be a recounting of what’s gone on in the last couple of weeks since I found out I have cancer.  Ah…. but the interesting part is, I’m discovering we ALL have cancer…. some of us are just fighting it better than others!

So here is my log of what has happened over that last few weeks to the best of my recollection.  Some of it may be a little more information than you’d like…. particularly on July 2nd and 3rd.  But you can skip over that if you’d like.  Here goes!

June 23rd — I took a trip to the emergency room at 1 am in the morning.  Thought I was having signs of gall bladder disorder of some kind.  It had been coming and going for about 4 weeks.  I finally couldn’t stand the pain anymore.  Find out it’s much worse than that.  They took me in for an ultra sound to check out the area of pain complaint.  After bringing me back to the room, they return a while later saying the doctor has ordered a CT scan of my abdominal area.  Well…. of course I assume that they didn’t like what they saw on the ultra sound or needed a better look at it.  So off we went for the CT scan.  Finally about an hour later the doctor comes in to inform me that I have a very enlarged spleen and a lymph node that is quite enlarged.  She told me it was necessary for me to get into my regular doctor by Monday or Tuesday and let him see the images they had taken and go from there.  Not the kind of info I wanted to be sent home with….. but none the less… that’s what it was!   We left the hospital around 5 am in the morning and returned home and both tried to get some rest.

June 24th — Since it was Stake Conference and I wasn’t feeling up to par…. we stayed home.  Spent the day wondering for sure what this might all mean.

June 25th— Called and made an appointment with my family doctor, Dr. Eberhard.  They were great about working me in since I told them it was a followup for an ER visit.  Met with Dr. Eberhard (still in pain….).  He looked over my images on his computer and you could tell from his face he was very concerned.  He finally looked up at me and told me I had Lymphoma.  He asked if I knew what that was.  I wasn’t really sure but I knew it had to do with my lymph system and the diagnosis of the enlarged spleen and lymph node.  I figured it wasn’t good.  He immediately referred me to a specialist.  He personally called Dr. Litton on the phone and probably had him look at my images.  They spent some time talking and Dr. Litton scheduled me for a biopsy of the lymph node for the following Wednesday and then an appointment with him on Friday.  That way he could see what the biopsy said and give me a better idea of what I was facing.  I told Dr. Eberhard that I might do some research online about lymphoma and he advised against it.  It said there are so many kinds that it can be and what you read will only confuse you.  He told me to wait to see what Dr. Litton had to say before I did much research.  I took his advise.

That night, I asked my daughter to come to the ball park to watch Dad play ball with her bothers.  I knew that way we could be together as a family to discuss what I had just learned.  They all knew I had been in the ER over the weekend and that something was up.  After the ball game was over, we sat on the grass under a tree and talked about what I was facing.  We all knew it was cancer, but just didn’t know what kind for sure yet.  I told them I had a lot of thinking to do.  I’ve been headed down a more holistic path of living as of late and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.  I knew the supplement I have been taking the last 2 years would be an important part of my healing but I wasn’t sure it would be enough.  I told them we should know more by the end of the week after my biopsy and a visit with Dr. Litton.

Spent some time on the phone with a dear friend while at the ball park.  After a long conversation with her, we decided we would go to the temple at the same time the next day, even though she was in AZ and I was here.

June 26th — Woke up feeling OK.  We decided to do the 1pm Session at the temple that day.  I text my friend the info early so she and her husband could be in the temple at noon AZ time.  By the time we got to the temple, I wasn’t feeling great.  I was in a lot of pain but wanted to do the session anyway.  Besides, my husband was taking his brother’s name through to do his work.  I wanted that to happen.  It was a rough session, but I made it through.   That night I was suppose to be to an audition/call back that I’d missed on Saturday.  I wasn’t sure I was feeling up to it, but I really wanted to go.  This is s show that I have been wanting to do for a long time.  I made my husband take me so I knew I’d have someone to drive me if I wasn’t feeling well.  I was so glad I went.  It did so much for my spirits to be there!  I felt so uplifted and knew in my heart that I was going to beat this and all would be well.  It really was what I had been needing!

During the day, I had been in contact with a Naturopathic doctor that works with the supplement I’m taking as well as other things.  We had a nice visit and he told me to send him an email and he would email me back a regimen that he would recommend I start on.  So I did.  And he did.  And we ordered some products.

June 27th — Biopsy day.  I was scheduled for a 10am biopsy of my lymph node that day.  Though they didn’t actually take me in for the biopsy for several hours later.  Partially because no one had told me not to eat or drink anything.  Luckily, I only had a few ounces of a green smoothie before something told me I probably shouldn’t be eating anything at all!  So I stopped.  But, they had to ‘wait’ for my food to digest before they could do the procedure.  Then, I had to wait my turn after all that!  It’s OK.  It all went well.  I drank about 4 oz of ASEA (my supplement I take) right after the surgery.  I think it helped me immensely with the healing.  She told me I would feel like someone had hit me in the back for a few days, but other than a little discomfort the following morning… I felt pretty good.

June 28th —  Though my energy levels seem a little low…. I know it’s important to walk.  We took a nice short walk over to the nearby park.  We sat on the grass for a while letting the dogs run a bit.  I sat back and looked up at the sky and felt serenely close to nature and heaven.  It was an uplift to my spirits.  Trying so hard to remain positive while dealing with all this negative emotion.

June 29th — Our first visit with the Oncologist, Dr. Gregory Litton.  He came highly recommended by my doctor and was receiving all kinds of praise from the staff before I even met him.  I was being told that he was one of the best for dealing with my kind of cancer.  I was very impressed with him.  His caring attitude and wanting to make sure I got all my questions answered was very encouraging.  Because I had had the biopsy a few days earlier, he was ready to give me the diagnosis of what kind of lymphoma I was facing.  I was grateful to hear it is Hodgkins Lymphoma.  At that moment, he put me in the Stage 2S category.  Meaning they had only seen tumors in the lower half of my body but since the spleen was involved, the ‘S’ is added behind the staging number.  He said this is the kind that is very treatable and curable.    If you have to get lymphoma… apparently this is the one to get.  Statistics show that there is a 90% cure rate with conventional treatment.  It’s not a road I want to walk.  I’m so into holistic healing.  I have a lot of studying and research to do.  Dr. Carpenter (the Naturopath doctor) advised me to watch a movie called “Healing Cancer from the Inside Out”.  That’s one of the first places I will start.

OH…. and the news came!  I got the part in “Little Women”.  That was one of my first questions for the doctor.  I want to do this show…. can I still do it if I have conventional treatment?  He assured me since I didn’t have a day job, that he thought I would be fine to do the show.  He said you may have a couple of days during treatment when you are too fatigued… but if they can work around that, you should be fine.  He also agreed to let me stop treatments for a couple of weeks during the run of the show so I don’t have to miss any performances.  That was peace of mind to me.  Not that this show is a priority over my life…..  but I wanted to know whether I could make the full commitment to the production staff.

June 30th —  This morning was the first day of rehearsal.  Not all the cast was there, so I didn’t get a chance to meet everyone.  I’m happy to be a part of this and have a chance to get to know some new people.  I’m very blessed to have such a wonderful and talented counterpart.  She will be a big help to me during all of this!  We did a read through of the script and then did a little singing.  After I was allowed to leave I pulled the director aside and we had a chat in a private area of the theater.  I told her what I had just found out and what I was facing.  I was very open in letting her know that I would understand if she wanted to re-cast me under the new circumstances that had just befallen me.  She was so supportive and understanding.  She told me I was one of the first people she had thought of to play the part when the theater had approached her about directing the show.  That made me feel so good.  I also explained that I wasn’t sure what my choice would be for therapy but that the doctor assured me that he thought I could do the show even through chemo.  She asked, of course, if she could share the information with those who needed to know, (staff wise and all) and I said of course.  It wasn’t common knowledge as of yet, so I didn’t want to make a big announcement to the cast.  That will come.  I’m so grateful for her understanding and willingness to give me this chance to play a part that will even mean more to me now that I’m facing this struggle!

July 1st — Sunday.  I need Sunday’s…. yet it has been so uncomfortable sitting in church these last few weeks.  I kept thinking it was partially because we had switched buildings and my back wasn’t liking the seating much.  I think that is part of it…. but I had also been dealing with the pain in my side for weeks which wasn’t helping.  Since it was fast Sunday, I of course went with much prayer in my heart for the day.  There were some good testimonies born…. some that were helpful to me and what I am facing.  I think the Bishop must have sensed I was having a hard time in church.  After the meeting, I had talked to a few friends and had told them a few things.  I had cancelled choir practice that morning since I wasn’t feeling up to it, so some of them knew something was up.

The Bishop came up to us after most of the people had left the chapel and asked how we were doing.  I really think he sensed something.  He probably saw me be a little emotional during Sacrament meeting and when I talked with a couple of people and knew he needed to ask.  We shared the ‘wonderful’ news with him.  He asked how much I wanted others to know.  I told him at the moment I wasn’t sure.  It’s not that I don’t want people to know…. it’s the whole how to approach it thing!  It’s not like a want a general announcement at the pulpit…..  you know…. you don’t want all that pity, but you do want the love and support!  It’s such a dilemma!  Of course, I told him he needed to tell who needed to know….. RS President, etc.  Things will be slowly coming out I’m sure.  I’m just grateful he had the inspiration to ask and to care.

July 2nd — Worst day ever!  Went in for what I thought would be a pretty routine procedure.  Came out with the worst allergy reaction I have ever had (that I can remember!)  I was scheduled for a PET/CT scan.  When I had been in the ER room, they only did a CT scan on my abdominal area and the doc wanted to do a CT scan on my chest area to make sure the Lymphoma was only in the lower half of my system.  Along with that, he ordered a PET scan.  I’d never had one before and wasn’t too apprehensive about it.  I had gone online and looked up what they were and watched a little video on Youtube about how they do it.  I wasn’t really excited about the idea of being injected with some radioactive glucose!  But from what I read and could tell…. it wasn’t any worse than having an X-ray.  (Not that that’s a good thing either!)  Let me start by saying that the staff at IMC have been incredibly wonderful and kind.  They would have no way of knowing that I would react so violently.  And it didn’t really hit me till I got home that night.

I was taken in a room and sat in a comfortable recliner.  Luckily I had seen on the video to wear something comfortable without any metal in it.  I put on one of my cotton jogging suits, so other than the zipper on the jacket, I was just fine.  The young lady started me off by giving me a couple of paper cups full of an Oral contrast.  I just assumed this was all part of the PET procedure since I had had nothing like that in the ER when the did a CT.  After that, she injected me with the radioactive glucose.  I was told I needed to rest.  She wouldn’t let me look at my phone or watch anything.  They just need your mind to rest so that the injection can go to work on seeing how your body is assimilating the glucose with as little brain activity going on as possible.  However…. it’s pretty hard to shut down an active brain like mine!  Particularly considering what I was facing!  I did try very hard to just sit back and relax and breath deep so I could rest.  She turned off the lights and left me there for about 45 min..  Of course, that’s just about the time I had really started to doze!  Par for the course!  She then came back in and gave me two more cupfuls of the Oral contrast.  Then I was taken into the scanning area and laid on the table for the PET scan.  They made me comfortable with those wonderful warm hospital blankets.  I had been asked to remove my jacket, since it had a zipper and also my underwire bra.  Going thorough the scanner didn’t seem like any big deal.  No pain…. nothing unusual.  It’s not like an MRI where you feel closterfobic.  Things went fine with not trouble.  Then they walked me over to another area to be seated while I waited for them to take me in for the CT scan.  That’s when things started going a rye.  I suddenly got the dry heaves really bad.  I went into the rest room to deal with it for a few minutes.  Not fun.  I haven’t had those in a LONG time!  I came out and felt OK, not great, but OK…. so they took me in for the CT scan.  I didn’t want to come back again!

He said I needed to drink a lot of water that day….. which I’ve been doing anyway and started me on my way home with a bottle of water.  I thankfully took it, even though I always bring my own with me.  Things seemed to be fine for a while, but I was tired so I laid down after about an hour or so.  I suddenly got the case of the chills.  I could not get warm!  My husband was napping next to me and after about an hour or better of being cold, I finally asked him to grab an extra blanket out of the closet.  It took a good long while for me to start warming up.  In the meantime….. he sliced a few potatoes and cooked and warmed them on the stove for me to eat.  I hadn’t really had much up to that point.  The warm food going in felt good and helped to warm me up a bit…. but I couldn’t eat much.

I had no idea how really sick I was or was about to turn and neither did he.  He plays softball on Monday nights and I thought I would be alright.  I was actually suppose to go to rehearsal that night….. but that didn’t pan out at all!  Since I thought I’d be fine and just needed to rest…. he left for his ballgames, which take up a good portion of the night since he plays on two teams and also sometimes with my boys on their team.  It was a bad night to let him go….. but again….. neither of us knew that was all about to hit me.

After finally warming up….. I then was getting hot and could do nothing but lay on the bed.  I tried to get up to go to the bathroom.  It was a very difficult task for me.  I literally staggered into the bathroom.  It was all I could do to get to the toilet.  I half way passed out while sitting there.  Thankfully there is a wall around me to catch me!  I don’t remember which time…. because I recall trying to go to the bathroom a couple of times during all this….. but the last one I remember, I did pass out on the toilet for a few minutes.  I had a little diarrhea (sorry…. just giving you the blood and guts truth!).  It was all I could muster the strength to pull myself up off that toilet and then I crawled on the floor for a minute and proceeded to vomit.  Not a lot…. but enough.  Luckily I was able to move my head away and I literally lay there for what seemed like forever but it was probably only 15 or 20 min.  With absolutely NO strength to clean up behind myself…. I drug myself back to bed.

Luckily I had my phone by my bed.  Part of me wanted to call my daughter and have her come help me, but I just kept thinking I’ll get better…. I’m OK.  I received a text from the music director of the show.  I was suppose to be at rehearsal and she was checking on me.  I was grateful because I didn’t have the strength to come find my cast list to call anyone to let them know I was ill.  I sent her a message back and told her I was NOT well and I wouldn’t be there tonight.  That problem was now covered.  That was at about 7:15pm.  I spent the rest of the night in bed…. hardly moving.  I kept thinking it was late and my husband should be coming home, then I’d see the clock and realize it wasn’t as late as I thought.  I laid in that bed all night, sicker than a dog and my poor husband had no way of knowing.  Even if I had tried to call him he wouldn’t have heard his phone at the ball park.  I think it was after 10pm before he got home.  I was barely starting to feel a tiny bit better when he came.  Unfortunately, he was left to clean up my mess that had been there for hours.  I was actually really grateful the dogs weren’t around!  My daughter had taken her dog home for the night and John took Scooter to the ball park since his folks come to watch his games and he could sit with them.  After all…. I was suppose to be at a rehearsal so Scooter would have been alone and oh how he loves to be at the ball park!

Spent the rest of the miserable night in bed but at least I had my hubby there to help me to the bathroom.  A night from hell I never want to go through again!

July 3rd — I awoke the next morning feeling much better but pretty much still feeling very sick.  My husband noticed how I was starting to break out with a rash on my torso area.  It wasn’t itching, thankfully…. but none the less…. I had a rash.  Though that day was better than the night before…. I sill felt awful all day.

I received a call from the doctors office.  Apparently he was a little alarmed at what the PET scan showed and wanted me to meet him in his office that afternoon to go over the scan.  We made an appointment for 4:40pm though I told the girl I still wasn’t feeling well.  She told me to call the office if I decided I couldn’t make in.  Around 2 pm that afternoon…. weak as I could be…. I attempted to take a shower.  My husband was right there with me because I knew I could do it alone.  We sort of have a little bench area at the end of the shower so I sat down to try to begin.  Luckily we have two shower heads…. one that can be hand held and used where needed.  That’s the one we had running.  Apparently I passed out and ended up slipping off the bench and sitting on the shower floor.  We did the best we could to get me clean.  It’s hard to shampoo with no strength.  My husband literally had to help me up out of the shower and dry me.  I went straight back to bed and just lay there in a heap.

After about an hour, I called the doctors office and told them there was no way I had the strength to come in.  Later that evening, Dr. Litton called me and gave me a quick overview of what they had seen on the PET scan.  I was scheduled for a bone marrow biopsy on Thursday.  He had been hoping I’d feel well enough to come in and have it all done that day.  Obviously, he was concerned with what he saw.  We agreed that I would come into his office before my bone marrow biopsy on Thursday and go over the images and discuss his concerns.  I was still too sick to care much about anything at that point but agreed to see him on Thursday morning.

The rest of the day I started regaining a little strength but was still very weak.

July 4th — Happy 4th of July!  Not the best I’ve ever had…. but I woke up feeling MUCH better than I had for the last two days.  I was encouraged!  The kids had bought tickets to see the  Salt Lake REAL game that night with the fireworks.  John and I were suppose to go, but I wasn’t sure I’d feel up to it after what I’d been through.  We decided at least to get everyone together for dinner that afternoon before the game so I could spend sometime with the family.  It was great.  I loved having them around and I even had enough of an appetite that I was able to eat a 1/2 a veggie sandwich.  It felt good.  I really was feeling much better.

My daughter was suppose to have gone out of town that week and wasn’t going to be around, but unforeseen things happened and she was still here.  I was grateful, because I didn’t really have at the stamina to sit though a game and the heat, so it worked out perfect that she used my ticket and they all went to the game.  They had a great time and so did I because two of my dearest friends came over to spend the evening with me.  We sat and talked all night about lots of things.  We don’t get together as much as we’d like, so it was a good thing.

I have a great view of the Riverton City fireworks from my back deck…. so we sat and watched the fireworks from there.  It was relaxing and I didn’t have to fight any crowds or parking issues and neither did they!  I so enjoyed the evening and was so grateful to them for coming.  I probably would have had a little self pity party if they hadn’t shown up!  I’m so blessed to have such wonderful people in my life!

July 5th — Bone Marrow Biopsy day.  As promised, we met with Dr. Litton before the procedure.  I had a LOT of questions to ask.  I’d been doing my homework and NOT liking what I was seeing about chemotherapy at all.   It’s not the path I want to take at all.  Dr. Litton was very concerned about what they saw on the PET scan.  He said it showed I had what he called some ‘hot spots’ in my bones, which meant the cancer seemed to be in a few bones.  Now I was upgraded to a Stage 4.  Once the bones are involved…. I guess that’s where you go!  Even though the scan didn’t really show anything in the upper half of my body except one tiny node in my left neck area that was a tiny bit enlarged…. I still went to Stage 4 because of bone involvement.

So I wondered why I needed to proceed with the bone marrow biopsy I was about to have if they already knew it was in my bones.  Why the extra expense, etc.?  He told me it was to verify that it was the same kind of cancer that was going on in the rest of my body.  How exciting…. now I still get to have it done…. but on top of the bone marrow…. they now want to take a piece of bone while they are in there.  Extra fun and pain!

We had a good long talk with him.   I asked him oodles of questions including if he were in my shoes… would he put himself through the chemo he wants me to go through.  He was very honest about it and said that in this instance, for this kind of cancer he absolutely would because of the cure rate.  He admitted that he may not feel that way for many other cancers… but for this one he did.  It’s hard to say ‘no’ when your doctor said he would do it himself!  Many of the the things we had read and studied said that most oncologists would not put themselves or their family members through what they are asking you to do.  Kind of a scary thought….. but he did say for this one he would.

Because of the concern for my ‘hot spot’ areas, he wanted to start me on a short term steroid pill to start shrinking the areas around my spine.  He’s concerned that if those tumors grow, they could cause me trouble with my legs and walking.  That’s definitely a concern.  I agreed to start on the steroids but I told him I was still apprehensive about starting chemo.  He was scheduled to be out of the town the next week and that’s why he had taken such an effort to get me into the office to discuss my situation.  He’s concerned.  I told him frankly, I was glad he had been scheduled to be out of town.  I felt like I needed a week to breath and actually start dealing with how I felt about all this.  I had been so overwhelmed with testing and such for the last two weeks that I hadn’t really had a chance to wrap my brain around everything.

He was very understanding and even chuckled a little.  As long as I was wiling to at least get started on the steroid, I think he felt a little better giving me some time to breath.  He did however, ask me to let him go ahead and at least schedule my first chemo treatment.  He promised that I wasn’t locked into that decision, but wanted it scheduled so if that is what I wanted, I could get started.  So, I have an appointment with him on July 17th after which I will start chemo treatments IF that’s what I decide to do.  Still studying and praying about that one.

After we left his office, I went over to the outpatient area to get my biopsy done.  I worked with some of the same staff as I had on my tumor biopsy.  They were great.  I’m truly impressed with their caring.  I wasn’t looking forward to this one because I knew I would probably be in more pain with this procedure than the last.

Though I was a good patient and went fasting…. I still had to wait a good long time to get in.  If it tells you anything…. I arrived at 11am for the biopsy and was the last patient to leave that night.  Yeah…. that one took a while.  Before we went in, we discussed at length with the nurse what I may have reacted to from the PET/CT scan.  I was a little nervous, because I surely did NOT want to be given it again…. and the procedure did require some kind of contrast.  I hadn’t had any adverse reaction to any of the other CT scans previously…. so it had to have been something they gave me on Monday.  They determined it was the oral contrast that was given to me before and after the radioactive glucose injection.  Apparently, that contrast was needed for the CT scan rather than the PET scan.  Not sure why they had to do it differently than they had before…. but that’s what was determined.  I now have added Gastrografin to my short list of allergies.  And believe me….. I never want it again!

After finally getting me in to do the procedure, the doctor came in and talked to my husband and I about what had gone on.  Apparently I must have been out of it a little more than the first time because I don’t remember much of what he said.  He told John that they got a good sample of my bone (which I literally felt him using a hammer on!) but that the bone marrow sample may not have been as good.  Apparently, though there aren’t many veins in the marrow area, they managed to find one and I guess I bled a little so the bone marrow part wasn’t as successful as they’d hoped.  But guess what!  It will have to do!  They aren’t going in there again!

As the sedative was wearing off that they gave me during surgery, I was feeling pain.  Much more than I had with my other biopsy.  We tried some Tylenol, but it didn’t take the edge off.  As much as I didn’t want to, I had them give me a Lortab because the pain was pretty bad.  They gave me a prescription for it to take home in case I needed it.  Again…. I was hoping I wouldn’t, but I didn’t really want to feel the kind of pain I was feeling all day the next day!

We stopped at the pharmacy to get both my prescriptions filled for the Lortab for pain and for Decadron (generic:  Dexamethasone), the steroid, and then came home.  I laid on the couch for a while trying to catch up on my email and I was suddenly very tired.  I think the Lortab they gave me at the hospital was kicking in.  So… I let myself fall asleep on the couch.  I zonked.  Really hard.  I woke about 10 pm and got up and got ready for bed and went right back to bed!  I slept pretty well all night long.  I think that darn pain med knocked me out enough I was able to rest nicely all night long.

July 6th — Luckily I awoke with not much pain.  Discomfort, yes… but not the pain I had had the night before.  Thankfully… I didn’t need to take any of those nasty Lortab anymore!

I felt surprisingly well that day.  I think considering what I had been through earlier in the week…. I was feeling pretty dang good!  Despite having my hip bone chipped away at… I felt good!  It was a good day.  We decided to go see a cute friend in a show at HCTO in Orem.  I wanted to go see her before my own rehearsal schedule made it so I couldn’t.  She was so adorable in the part!  Not only is she beautiful… but she played that part so spunky and cute!  I loved every minute of it!  Of course, I like those old shows and that old music!  She was a terrific Polly in “Crazy for You”.  It was a good night.  We even took some friends with us and saw others there I hadn’t seen in a while.  Good day.

July 7th — No rehearsal today.  Finally a chance to breath and get something done.  I was suppose to go to a seminar in Bountiful that afternoon that I had registered for, but I knew it would take up my whole day and I just wanted to get some other things done.  We had decided to celebrate my daughters birthday a little early the next day so we went to the store to pick up some fresh vegetables so we could have a nice dinner the next day.  My kids are getting stuck with eating more healthily food through all this!  I did ask my son’s girlfriend to bring a treat of some kind for Mandy.  I didn’t want to make anything like that since I’ve given up sugar and I didn’t want to buy anything either, it’s not as thoughtful.

It was a nice day to get a few errands in and feel a little better.

July 8th — I was able to make it through the whole 3 hour block of church today!  It felt good to be able to stay.  My pain in my side has been gone for several days now and it makes sitting much easier!  I even lasted on those awful metal chairs during Sunday school!  It was good to be there the whole time.  There are a few people who know now… but not as many as I’m sure will in the coming weeks.  Our RS President has been out of town, so I’m not even sure she knows yet.  But, I’m OK with that.  I’m not looking for sympathy.  It’s just nice to know people are behind you in your struggles!  Besides… it’s not like I want people bringing in meals or anything anyway.  Especially with a restrictive diet!

We came home and the family came over early for dinner since Jon and Ali needed to get to Park City later that night to spend some time with her Dad.  We had a nice dinner, fresh corn on the cob, fresh salad and vegetables and what is kind of becoming our standard meal around here…. black bean burgers.  The kids don’t seem to mind and I really enjoy them.  Plus, since Jon girl is a vegetarian, it makes it easier on her.  I love having my kids around.  I wish they would come more often….. but we all get busy and have our own lives to lead!  But I do love knowing what is going on in their lives….. good or bad!  It was our only time to get the whole family together before Mandy’s birthday since Jon is going out of town next week for some training.  I guess Mandy will get to celebrate with Mom and Dad again!

It was a nice evening.  Very relaxing.  Spent some more time studying out my options.

July 9th —  Oh how I was looking forward to today!  As part of my holistic approach to this, I had an ‘energy healing’ session scheduled for this morning.  I’m so grateful for the people that have come into my life.  I’m pretty sure the Lord knew what was up and coming and put them in my path at this time when I would need them!

I had been reading a book called “The Emotion Code” and discovered that the friend that actually mentioned the book to me was a practitioner for it’s methods.  I was so thrilled to find that out!  Even though the book attempts to teach you how to do this on your own… I was having epic failure at trying, but so desperately wanted to give it a try!  I was so glad when I found out Tam did it.   We had a nice long session over the phone.  I believe she helped me to release some trapped emotions, but I know have many more I need to let go of!  Interestingly enough, after the session, some of my research led me to a doctor who said how important the emotional aspect of healing is, especially in cancer.  It was only a confirmation to me that I was headed down the right road.

Later that evening, I went to the ball park with my husband to watch his games.  It was WAY too hot!  I probably should have stayed home….. but it was nice to be there.  Even though I sat in the shade the whole time…. it was over 100 degrees!  The dogs were panting like crazy!  It’s a good thing I had a water bottle there for them.  I will be a little more observant of the temperature next time I want to do that!  For me and the dogs!  I honestly don’t know how my husband played ball!  I came home drained as much emotionally as physically.  I don’t think I realized till that night now much the energy session had taken out of me!  But it was a good thing.  I fell right in bed and slept like a baby.

July 10th — A good day.  I felt a little weak this morning…. but with rest I felt much better by the afternoon.  I had promised my Mom I would come out and visit with her and do her laundry since I hadn’t been able to for a while.  I was a little worried about my stamina…. but I did feel better as the day went on.  I went out in the evening, so I could spend time with her at night.  My sister gets a little concerned about her in the evenings.  She sometimes seems a little more disoriented at night.  And we have to make sure she gets her after dinner snack for her blood sugar levels.  So, since I didn’t have a rehearsal…. I went out a little later to be with her.  After getting her laundry done and getting her her snack, I sat down to have a talk with her.  My sister was concerned that I hadn’t told her everything and was afraid someone would slip and say something to her and it would upset her more coming from them.  She was right.  I was just trying to be delicate about what I was telling her.  I had told her the week before that I had Hodgkins Lymphoma…. I just didn’t really tell her what it was.  It was time.

We had a nice talk.  I was very open and honest about everything.  I told her I still wasn’t sure what my course of action would be as far as therapy.  I assured her it was curable and that I know I will be fine.  It might be a tough road ahead…. but I’ll be fine.  She took it very well.  I thought she might get a little more emotional than she did…. but she took it like a trouper.  At least while I was there, she didn’t fall apart!   Who knows what may have happened after I left!  She’s been concerned about me and knew something more was up than I was telling her.  At least this way she knows now what I am facing.   It’s just hard to tell your 90 year old Mom who has major health problems herself that you are having your own struggles!

July 11th — I’m usually serving in the temple on Wednesday mornings…. but I’ve had to go on hold for a while till I know what is happening.  If I do chemo…. I for sure won’t be able to go back and serve right now.  If I don’t…. I may be able to still do it!  In fact, I would hope that I would feel well enough to!  That’s part of the reason for wanting to go holistic here!  I want to feel well, not icky all the time!

My appetite must be doing better!  I fixed a BIG salad for lunch for my husband and I and we also had a big dinner!  Way too much to eat when you haven’t been eating that much lately!  It was all good though, and good for me!

We went down to a class at the doctors office this afternoon that they had me scheduled for.  It was to talk about chemo and how it’s administered and give you a packet and blah, blah, blah.    That’s pretty much how I felt about the class.  It wasn’t that informative and the fact that the video they show you is over 15 years old didn’t impress me in the least.  Things have changes since then…. I would hope.  It kind of drained my energy and only reaffirmed that chemo is NOT the route I want.  I understand….. none wants to go through chemo…. I get that.  But this is so much more to me than that!  That’s what comes from studying it out and researching.  Some people would say I’m being led down the wrong path…. but I believe it’s important to know BOTH sides and I guarantee…. the conventional therapy is ONLY going to make their side look good.  But then again…. visa versa.  It’s all part of the game.

I did feel drained after the class but came home and educated myself on the supplements that had finally arrived in the mail!  I ordered them a week ago, but they forgot to ship them before they took the holiday week end off!  I was glad to get them and to start educating myself on how they will be an important  part in this natural healing path.  I’m learning about new things more and more and I’m OK with that.  Especially when the directive is coming from a naturopathic doctor.

July 12th — Mixed bag of emotions today.  I started the day off really well.  Felt good and took a nice walk with my hubby.  Went further than I’ve been able to go.  It felt good.  I started taking the new piece to my regimen today.  Got all three doses in and didn’t have any nausea problems at all.  I was happy about that.  I was feeling more energetic today.  Ate well….

Tonight I had a rehearsal.  Just working on vocals.  Nothing strenuous.  But as the evening wore on, I became a little more concerned about a ‘sensation’ I as feeling in my legs.  I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence that I started the PawPaw today and started feeling it, or if I’m getting a warning sign that perhaps the spot on my spine is needing attention.  The kind I don’t’ want to give it.  I don’t know if the PawPaw is ‘waking’ that spot up or what to think.  I think I need to give it a few days.  I need to ask Dr. Carpenter what he thinks.  We’ll see how tomorrow goes as far as sensations in the legs go.  This is NOT making this decision any easier!

Very restless night for both me and my husband.  I think he’s concerned more now.  Not that he hasn’t been.  But he doesn’t say much.  It didn’t help that Scooter had a tummy ache and kept us up part of the night.  Plus…. I just sent my hubby off to a ball tournament in Pocatello early this morning.  I think if he’d have known they had enough players without him, he would have stayed home.  I’ll be fine.  He’ll be back tomorrow afternoon.


UPDATE:  If you want to continue reading about my journey, go to the top of the page and hover over When Your Life Hits a Wall and it will pop up the menu to continue all the posts for this long journey.  Beware, it’s long and can get emotional and down somedays, but I did try to keep a good attitude most of the time.


27 Replies to “When Your Life Hits a Wall”

  1. Wanda, I can’t begin to tell you the emotions I feel and how my heart goes out to you for the things you have had to endure and will yet experience. I feel such love in my heart for you and I know that our Heavenly Father is watching over you, his angels…seen and unseen, and that “all these things shall be for thy good”. Sometimes life throws such curveballs (speaking of ball tournaments…this one is sure to put you and your husband in battle mode like he has never experienced on the ball field before).

    I want you to know that I will be thinking of you. I applaud your courage and desire to seek alternative measures to get well. I also think that modern medicine and those alternatives can work together well. But I know that you are seeking truth in all things, and what will be best for you and your family. I have no doubt that you will be directed in the way you should go. I truly believe that your “healthy state” prior to this cancer discovery will certainly be in your favor…and continue to help you get well as you continue with those things. I strongly believe in the essential oils as well and have had a good deal of luck with those for some of the “more simple” challenges in life. Lynette Zabriskie Sessions is quite knowledgable about the oils and applications for cancer. I believe they can help you….for what it’s worth.

    Wanda, we traveled different paths in our younger years but I have gained a love and appreciation for you this past year that I had never had before. I can honestly say…inspite of time and distance, that I love you. My thoughts and prayers will be with you in these upcoming months.

    Please let me know when your show dates will be for Little Women. I would really like to come watch the performance. My neice was in the ensemble when they did it in Provo (last summer I think it was)….she is currently the lead in “All shook up” at the Centerpointe Theatre and I look forward to coming up soon to see her in that.

    It’s so important to support one another and I feel a desire to let you know that your life has touched mine, and I am grateful for that.

    Much love,

    Robyn Wray Bleazard

  2. Oh wow. That brought back memories. Chemo is not fun. I so wish you didn’t have to go through this. I know you’ll be fine after all this, however. This too shall pass, Wanda. There were times when I didn’t think I was going to make it, and yet here I am after almost twenty-five years. Thank you for sharing this difficult experience.

  3. Oh Wanda. One of the greatest challenges for you in this experience may be slowing down. We are birds of a feather that way and I know since my RA diagnosis (which I am not comparing to yours), I have had a dickens of a time accepting my new limitations. I’m finally getting the hang of scheduling 1/4 of what I used to and building in time for resting – even sleeping – multiple times per day. And guess what? I’m starting to appreciate the more measured pace. Life has taken on a different aspect (which I know you know all about) and I am richer spiritually for it. Your challenge is far greater but all of your studies about attitude and wellness has been preparing you for it. God bless you and your family! And thank you for sharing so much of yourself with the rest of us. It’s time now, though, to concentrate on YOU. We love you!

    1. Thanks, Ramona! You are a dear! I appreciate your words of love and encouragement! I’m so excited for you and your new venture with this book! I can hardly wait for it to come out! You are an amazing lady and I LOVE what your write! I’m blessed to have you as a friend. I’m grateful we have reconnected!

  4. Oh, Wanda, I didn’t know about any of this until today. I am so worried and concerned. What a challenging time this is for you and for your family. You are strong–anyone who know you knows that. You will beat this and you will be inspired to know what is right for you. I wish I was there to give you some love and moral support–it will have to come across the miles this time. You will definitely be in my prayers. Remember: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” (Philippians 4:13)

    1. Thanks, Gayle. I know I’ll get through it too. It’s just the toughest decision I have ever had to face as far as treatment goes! I’m trusting heavily on the Lord to help me make the right choice for me! Praying like I never had before! Thanks for your support and love…. even though you’re are miles away…. I can feel it as if you are here! I love you!

      1. Wanda, Everyday I read your comments on FB. I have been feeling that something was very wrong with you. I never dreamed that it would be this! There’s no doubt in my mind that you will beat this! You are such a strong lady! Please know that you are so loved and in so many prayers. This is just a “bump” in your road. You will beat this!

  5. I have gone through some medical concerns, nothing to the magnitude you are. I too felt people didn’t need to know because I didn’t need pity, sympathy, whatever… But from the other side I need and want to know do I can pray for you that means allot to me to be able to do that. I am sure people in your ward love you and want that opportunity to pray for you as well. Thank you for the posts, what an ordeal with more to come, I know many people love you and pray you will find comfort in the decision you make about chemo.and pray for added strength as you endure all that you have to. Love you and pray for you!!!

    That many love you, pray for you and pray you will your comfort in the decision you make a fast as

    1. THank you Lauren…. it is a mixed bag. In my heart I want the support and love and prayers. I think I’ve reached the point where I’m ready to share it. Obviously I must be if it’s all over the internet, right? I suppose my own ward should be the one supporting me the closest! Thank you for your thoughts and prayers for me!

  6. Wanda, my heart goes out to you. I know the emotional battle is just as hard, if not harder, than the physical one. It consumes your every thought all day long. May you feel the love and comfort of the Savior at this scary time. He will be “on your right hand and on your left” to help you through this.
    I too am a believer in alternative medicine. Having had M.S. for nearly 30 years, natural remedies have helped me a lot. It sounds like you have some terrific doctors (of both types) to help you through this and I know you will receive the guidance you need to choose the treatment that will be best for you.
    You will be in my prayers. Much love and hugs. Lisa Faddis Pettegrew

    1. Thank you Lisa. This is truly one of the toughest things I have ever faced. Even just making the decision on what course to take it taking it out of me emotionally! It’s hard when our loved ones want to support you but want the traditional route too because statistics say it works. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

  7. You are such a positive person. I miss seeing you and I and Colby will be praying for you to have the strength to get through this.
    Love you,
    Jan Rytting

    1. Oh I miss the people in our old ward so much! I’m so grateful for the love I’m getting from those friends too! Thank you for your prayers and thoughts! I will get through this and be better for it!

  8. Wanda, Wow, I am so sorry to hear this news! I know that it may sound trite, but I do understand the many emotions and feelings you, your husband, and loved ones are going through at the present time. It is so hard to know what to do. I am so impressed with your upbeat attitude. That will be a great help to you as you fight this battle. I learned so many things and my love for Gae, which I felt was already rock solid, grew tremendously as I watched her courageously battle her cancer. I am hoping and praying for the best for you. Be strong. Let others serve you.

    1. Thank you Blake…. it means a lot to me that you took the time to comment. I know you went through so much with our dear Gae! I’m very blessed that my type of cancer is curable and that the prognosis for a long life is very good. Thank you for your prayers and thoughts! I have grown tremendously already just facing this struggle! Love to you and your family!

  9. Love You Wanda—-Thanks for sharing the things that you have with your friends—-I know that you are a strong person and will beat this challenge in your life—-you will come out even stronger than before. That old saying if very true that the Lord doesnt test us beyound our ability to endure. I know your back was bothering you last year at the dinner at Robintinos—shows how strong you really are!!. Thank you for the example that you are to all of us. Love and Prayers Patti

    1. THanks, Patti! I’ve kind of laid it all on the line publicly, haven’t I? I’ve been amazed at the support and love I’ve gotten because of it. THank you for adding to that! I know I will be well and whole and ready to have a great time at the reunion next year!!

  10. It’s amazing the strength you find within yourself during these difficult times. Wanda, I believe that as a strong woman you will get through this trial. Just know that you are not alone. You have many wonderful friends that are praying for you. It sounds like you have such a strong support system with your husband, family & friends. God bless and keep you. Know that we are all praying for you. Please take care and keep us all up to date.

  11. I just got back from my sisters in Idaho. We buried her husband last week after an 18 month battle with an inoperable brain tumor. I am so sorry to hear about your battle, but am happy to know it is a kind with a high success rate. Cancer SUCKS!! There will be good days and bad days as you have already found out. Know that our thoughts and prayers are with you. Know too that the Lords tender mercies will be abundant in your life, as well as many angels, both earthly and heavenly, that will attend you through this battle. Include the Lord in all your decisions. He will be with you and your family.

    Brad, Kathy & Niccole Milne

    1. Thanks, Kathy! I so appreciate the thoughts and prayers that are coming my way. It’s truly incredible! Believe me… the Lord has been included. It’s amazing how much nearer you feel to Him during these times! My treatments have begun. I made it through the first and know I’ll make it through the rest and have a very strong assurance from my Heavenly Father that I will survive this and live a long healthy life!

  12. Wanda, I’ve always admired you and this whole experience just makes me want to hug you. Thank you for being such an inspiration. I will keep you in my most healing and beloved thoughts and prayers. See you soon!!

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