Gotta keep on keepin' on.......

Cancer again...that's 3 times in 2 years. This time it’s not breast cancer, but a new one called squamous cell carcinoma. New cancer, same old fighting spirit! My blog is still named for one of many songs that kept me going the first time around. Driving home from an upsetting appointment, I turned on the radio just as this line from Steve Miller Band's Jet Airliner was playing: "I've got to keep on keepin' on"....so I did just that. And I'll do it again.

Monday, July 13, 2009

an update on me

This is the post that I never wanted to write, but here it is, an update on me and my cancer status. It is not what I wanted, but I'm at peace with it and know that somehow God has worked out a plan for me that makes sense.

Here's the update....
I recently came home from a 3-night hospital stay. I had some breathing issues that needed attention, hadn't felt right for a few days prior, so John called the on-call oncologist and we took off for the ER. They were ready for me, wheeled me right in and it turns out my blood was pretty low in oxygen. They set me straight, and did a few xrays/scans while I was there. The scans showed that the cancer has spread more to my right lung, might possibly be a touch on my left lung (until now, the healthy one), and to my liver. (We knew about the liver spot back in the spring so that was no surprise.)

I still have that pleural effusion....sounds French, doesn't it? Fancy Nancy (Frances' favorite storybook character who always jazzes up her vocabulary with big, French-sounding words) would be impressed. Anyway, the pleural effusion is trapping fluid around the lungs, thus making it harder to take deep breaths. There are so many small pockets of fluid that the doctors weren't comfortable trying to get a needle in them all to drain them, and they said it really wouldn't bring me any comfort. So we decided not to put me through the misery of that procedure.

We also talked to my oncologist, and since this latest round of chemo doesn't seem to be doing the trick, and since my body has really been beaten down for so long, that it really is time to just stop this nonsense and let the disease progress. Any more chemo could knock me off my feet, and I want to enjoy whatever time I have left without all those drugs floating around in my body!

So I'm home, under hospice care, and actually feeling better than I have in months, thanks to the doctors getting my meds sorted out. I can finally eat. They fixed that problem, which was thrush that had gotten down into my throat. Two days on a pill and that was it, I was eating like a champ again. That feels wonderful. I still eat small portions but am enjoying food like you would not believe. Even went back to an occasional cup of afternoon tea. YAY!

I'm pretty much confined to my bedroom, though I have ventured downstairs quite a few times to have dinner with the family and work on the computer. I have a laptop up here, but the main PC has some files I need and it's difficult to transfer back and forth (long story, I won't get into that). I'm OK getting down the stairs, it's the getting back up that wipes me out. Last night I "bumped up" the stairs on my bottom, like we used to teach the kids when they first navigated the stairs as toddlers.

I have a very comfy setup up here....a nice adjustible hospital bed so I can finally get a full night's sleep! (I'm not confined to bed all day, don't worry. I do have other places to sit and lots to keep me busy.) And I'm mobile, so I can get over to the bathroom and to my worktable (set up for scrapbooking, letter-writing, and with room for my laptop if I get tired of laptopping in bed). I can go as far as my oxygen cord allows, which is down the hall to the kids' room to say goodnight! I can even go without the oxygen for as long as I like, which is freeing.

John and my mom helped bring my scrapbooking things up here, good thing I had them organized, and I've been working on Frances' baby album. She's 5 years old now, think it's about time? I actually finished that this week, had everything in order from 3 years ago but never took the time to put it together. Next project is Jesse's album (he's 3 years old now). We were missing a chunk from month 1 through 7, but my sister Susie was visiting last week and she found them all for me. Fortunately, I am organized. Sometimes messily organized, but organized nonetheless!

And if I don't complete Jesse's album (though I will), my mom reminded me that she had a baby book (she is the oldest of 3) while her younger brothers had nothing, few pictures, anything. And they grew up just fine, well-adjusted and as far as I know, not bitter about it. So that was some guilt off my shoulders! Thanks Mom! ;-)

Back to my room....My room is very peaceful. I leave the door open so I can hear the noises of the house, the chatter of our 4 beautiful children (and yes, the fights too), whatever noises carry up to the 2nd floor. The kids stop in periodically to say hello and give me hugs and kisses, play games, read with me. And Jesse, my big 3-year-old boy who is POTTY-TRAINED YAY!!!!, he loves to come in and go for rides on Mommy's magic bed. I taught him to say "Up Sesame" and "Down Sesame" and he is so cute. Sometimes he even wraps up in a blanket and pretends to nap on Mommy.

On the 4th of July, we spread a big picnic blanket on the floor and the girls brought up their trays to have dinner with Mommy. That was a special occasion! They took aff after dessert (with little brother and Mimi and Pop) to watch the fireworks a neighbor was setting off. They loved that!

So anyway, I'm doing all right. The hospice nurses come to see me twice a week (it was three times but they said I was doing so well they only needed two visits. That made me feel good!) They check my blood pressure and heartrate, ask if I have any new pains, check that my medicines are well-stocked, etc. A very sweet woman named Drucilla comes in M-W-F to bathe me, a luxury! Susie even painted my toenails for me, a bright orangey-gold that Emma selected.....another luxury! I'm enjoying it while it lasts!

I'm disappointed that I won't be physically here to watch my children grow up, but I've stopped feeling cheated and feeling sorry for myself on that. It is all part of God's plan, and I believe His plan for me was simply to bring these 4 beautiful, intelligent, and talented children into the world, raise them long enough to know right from wrong and have good manners, and then let them take off and grow up into the strong, influential adults they will become. I know they will all go on to do great things, perhaps even medical research to find a cure for cancer. I'm proud of where they are right now, and I know they'll all be successful.

John is a wonderful dad, and he's more than capable of taking care of the children. He's had to be mommy and daddy for quite some time now, since October 2008 when I first started losing steam from this new cancer....and he's done a phenomenal job. We have plenty of family, and tons of friends from the neighborhood and church, who can pitch in as needed, so I know John and the kids will never be alone. Plus I'll be watching over them from Heaven, sending hugs and advice as I can.

I feel confident that I have fulfilled God's plan for me, to get my 4 children off to the right start. They are all so talented, accomplished, curious, and extremely smart! Perhaps Mommy's disease will inspire them to further greatness in the medical field, or anywhere. I know they're bright enough to do whatever they set their minds to do.

Again, I'd like more time, but I'll take what I can get. And knowing my children are here, that they have plenty of sources of comfort between friends and family, so many people here on Earth who love them....I can rest easy.

When I do get to Heaven, and I'm not in a hurry mind you!, I'm hoping God's plan will make more sense to me. I'm happy with the version I have, but He will set me straight! Perhaps He has some writing projects lined up for me, who knows? We'll see!

5 Comments:

  • At 7/22/09, 10:05 AM, Blogger Jayne said…

    Katie,

    Such a beautiful post. But it is so unfair that you ever had to write it.

    Hugs and prayers to you ...

    Jayne

     
  • At 7/26/09, 4:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Kate,
    You are a precious gift from God to many of us. Especially those of us that have had the pleasure to dance with you at Miss Kim's. We were a little worried about you at first; so sweet and reserved! We can be kind of a wild group at times, as you know. But, you fit right in and we have missed you terribly this past year and really wished that you could have been with us, instead of fighting this huge battle. I was so happy for you that you were able to join us in the Mother/Daughter dance.
    It's hard for me and many of us to understand why God chose you to go through this. You are one of the sweetest women that I have had the pleasure to get to know in my life. You have inspired myself and many others, with your unfailing strength and positivity.
    I will continue to keep you in my daily prayers. May God bless you through this continued journey.
    Love,
    Kristi Seay

     
  • At 7/28/09, 2:37 AM, OpenID Itsmebets1 said…

    Katie, sorry to read about all of the problems you've been having but so glad you are feeling well since stopping the chemo. You and your family are in my prayers and on multiple prayer lists throughout the country. I never rule out the power of prayer or rule out miracles either. God does have a plan, unfortunately none of us knows what that is but know that he is there and always will be and won't give you anymore than He thinks you can handle. God bless and let me know if there is anything you need or I can do for you or the family. Cousin Betty

     
  • At 7/28/09, 8:48 PM, Blogger Marsha said…

    KT, this is not a twist in the story anybody wanted to read, but I am glad you are finding peace. Bless you and your family.

     
  • At 9/29/09, 1:50 AM, Blogger Katie said…

    I wish I would have been able to know you in life. You are an amazing person and an incredible mother. I know your children will read this some day with great pride, so to THEM, I say that I am so sorry for your loss. Your mom lives on in each of you.

     

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