Cancer and Chemo

As I sit here ready to update this long abandoned blog I am 3 days away from my first chemo treatment. I never imagined I would ever be one who ever needed chemo but here I am. I have had quite the battle in the last 5 weeks. It’s not the battle I thought I would have. It’s not the summer I imagined it would be. But it is the one that I have been dealt and the one that lies before me.

On April 8th I went to my primary doctor for a long overdue check up. I decided in March that I wanted a particular medicine for some fungus that I had on my toes but my doctor’s office said I would have to come in for a check up to have the blood work done because it had been 3 years since my last check up. I know it was overdue and I knew that I needed to go in but I just didn’t. So I set the appointment for April 8. While my doctor was pokin’ and proddin’ she made a gasp when she pressed on my stomach. She said my uterus felt the size of a five month pregnant uterus. I assured her quite emphatically that I was NOT pregnant. So she sent me for an ultrasound. That was a Monday. That afternoon I was called to go back Wednesday morning for CT Scan with contrast (they wanted it on Tuesday but my insurance wanted to cause problems – you know how that is). That evening Ron and I were on our way out to dinner with our best friends because the day happened to be my birthday when my phone rang. I answered it. It was my doctor who told me I had a tumor on my ovary. She was sending me to a Gynecological Oncologist. My appointment with him was 7:30 the next morning. Oh and Happy Birthday. The next morning I saw Dr. Wheelock where he told me that I have Ovarian Cancer. He assured me that on Monday morning we were gonna get it out and get it GONE!

The word “cancer” scared me. How did cancer get inside of me? What was I supposed to do with that? I’ve been battling cancer with my dad for 3 1/2 years. I didn’t know how to fight it from this side of the battle. I think I went into a shut down mode for a long time. People said they were praying for me. I was mostly numb. People took my numbness as a positive attitude. As I look back on those first couple of weeks I think I was honestly just floating outside of myself watching it all. The final word has come in that it is cancer and that I will be having chemo. I have settled into myself. I have felt the fear settle in. I am afraid. I cling to the Lord who promises never to leave me or forsake me. He has a plan. I don’t know what it is. I don’t have a clue. I cling to Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you future and a hope.” Beth Moore says it best and is my motto in this cancer battle along with that verse. She says “As we seek to know God’s will and go where He sends, he doesn’t just wait for us at our next stop. He travels every mile right beside us.” So wherever I go and whatever path I take God and I will be walking hand in hand.

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Crazy Love

This afternoon we got back from our quick spring break weekend get away. Because for once our kids are in two different schools their breaks are at different times. This past week was Lauren’s spring break. Michael’s spring break is this coming weekend. So we took this past weekend to go to an indoor waterpark we have never been to before. It is Great Wolf Lodge next door to Kings Island in Mason Ohio. Even though I grew up in Ohio and went to Kings Island a lot. We just spent the weekend and we had such a great time. We laughed and played and ran around. We just had such an amazing weekend like we didn’t have a care in the world.

 

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I wish I had taken more pictures actually. But mostly I just enjoyed my family. But I have a few pictures to share.The kids just had a wonderful time together. There weren’t any arguments. That was wonderful. Seems being in college away from each other has really mellowed them out to the point that they actually like each other now. I knew it would eventually but it was a long time coming.

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Saturday we went to the indoor watermark. That was really cool. There were pools and slides and rafts galore. I enjoyed the family slide where all four of us could ride together. I wish now I had walked around and taken more pictures of the pools and slides. I know it’s a little hard to see in this picture. Ron and the kids would go again late at night after I got in bed to watch TV.

 

 

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The end of the day brought some tired pups at night. There was a couch. But an argument developed and it ended up with both of them in the bed next to us. Cracked me up. How I love them!!!

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They just piled up wherever they were and stole my heart no matter what they were doing. Lauren was tweeting, of course. Michael was playing his game on his phone. I had just come in the room from shopping in the gift shop. Ron was working on his schoolwork. We were just hanging out. And they were just piled there stealing my heart! It was a crazy kind of love!!
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Yep that’s my family! We had a great time! I want to take advantage of every second we have together. They are amazing and I am crazy about them!!!

 

18 Finally Shows It’s Head Around Here

 

Eighteen years ago on February 24, 1995 Lauren Ashleigh Hunter was finally allowed to be born following a difficult two months of pregnancy. I was overjoyed on so many levels. I was happy because our family had grown to four – albeit unexpectantly. I was very happy that I had been able to carry her to term. And I was relieved that my labor with her was considerably shorter than it was with her brother, which was 27 hours.

Allow me to explain some of that so that you will understand the depth of my relief. It took us quite a while, a year and a half, and the beginning of fertility treatments to get pregnant with Michael. We went through a lot emotionally to get pregnant with him. Even while pregnant with him I began spotting and was scared out of my mind and after having experience a miscarriage before all of this started I immediately put myself on bed rest even though my doctor was not worried and said it was normal to spot. After my first experience of a miscarriage I wasn’t taking any chances. I spent a week in bed. I took extra good care of myself. After Michael was born in November I felt much relief and enjoyed my baby. I started on birth control and settled into the routine of being a mother. When Michael was six months old and I was still on my birth control pills Lauren showed up on the little stick from the pharmacy. That simple! That unexpectedly! Just BOOM there she was! Nobody was trying!

When I was seven months pregnant with her I went into premature labor. I went into the hospital. I spent 10 days hooked up to magnesium to stop the contractions. In the beginning they had given me injections to boost the growth of her lungs in case she had to be born early. Those were some massive needles. I do remember those! And I remember every time they tried to wean me off the magnesium the contractions would start up again. I was depressed, terribly miserable and I was really wanting them to take her. But in actuality she was where she was supposed to be. Once they let me out of the hospital they put me on bed rest until a certain date. After that date she was allowed to be born so I was ready to get up and get going. And we walked and walked and walked for days and nothing happened. That little booger stayed where she was. Her actual due date was March 5. But my February 24 they were concerned with her weight because of the shots they had given me in the hospital. They were also concerned about how much more she would gain in that last week. So, they put me in on the 24th and induced me.

Holy moly! I was glad when all of that was over and done. But when I looked at her she was so beautiful. She was having a few problems breathing a first so they gave her a puff of oxygen. That girl has had the scream of the banshees ever since. You could hear her anywhere and everywhere. I’ve always said if anyone ever kidnapped her in a cart at the store they would return her as soon as she started crying.

She has been totally independent from an early age. She preferred to put herself to sleep at 7:00 every night. We lived in the church parsonage and had to have our children’s ministry meet in the parsonage so Lauren could go to sleep in her bed at 7:00 or everyone was miserable. She’s always wanted to know the “why” behind everything. She’s never been the kind of child you could parent with “because I said so”.  That’s totally unacceptable. She has always been and always will be a handful. That’s not an easy child to parent but you can be sure one day it will serve her well. And she has always worked hard to understand what she is learning. You can’t just tell her 2+2=4. You have to explain WHY it equals 4. She doesn’t take anything for granted. She must research and understand something for herself.

I can see how all the parts of her have come together to make the Lauren that we know. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has stretched me more than anyone else in the world. I’m so thankful that God chose me to be her mother even though there were times that I was throwing my hands up yelling “WHY ME”!! I am truly the most blessed mother to have ever been chosen. It was choppy from the beginning but maybe that was my warm-up for what was to come. I now have an 18 year old young woman who I couldn’t be prouder of. I wouldn’t have traded her in for anyone anywhere.

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Lauren Ashleigh Hunter – February 24, 1995 – 8 lbs 5 oz – 20 1/2 inches long

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Happy Birthday, Lauren!

 

Pajama Bottoms, Sweat Pants and Size 7 Shoes

Well I have had great results with my weight loss results. It’s been amazing actually. I’ve never actually lost this much weight. I’m seeing a lot of things changing before. If you have never read my blog to know how I’ve been working on my weight loss challenge I have been using the Advocare 24 Day Challenge and our Trim Line products. You can follow the link provided there if you are interested in the process. But the entire process began last June 3, 2012 with 232 pounds. This morning I stepped on the scales at my doctor’s office and I weighed 192 pounds. That is amazing! But the best part is THAT’S NOT WHERE I’M STOPPING!! I set small goals for myself. I find small goals easier for me to reach. So my current goal is to get to 180. Now that the weather is warming up I can start walking again that will make my day.

We have a new Goodwill in my part of town. A challenge I never thought about in losing weight was that my feet were going to shrink. I currently have an entire closet full of size 8W shoes. All of them are too big at this point. So I primarily went there to purchase shoes – which I was highly successful at doing. I found some fabulous items. Then I decided to look through the sale racks lined through the middle of the store and I racked up there too. I really don’t think it’s possible for me to go into a store and not come out with something to make me happy.

Interestingly enough most of what I found were items for the kids – all of which were on the sale rack. There was a rack full of pajama bottom and sweat pants. Lauren’s roommate wears sweats all the time. So, I bought all of us a couple pair of PJ bottoms and/or sweats for .99/each. Let’s just say it was my day for Goodwill!

I tried to post pictures of a couple of the items I bought here but for some reason I couldn’t get them to post so I took that to mean it’s no big deal and you will just take my word for it all! That’s pretty much it, isn’t it? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Did I mention I’ve lost 40 pounds? Let’s end with that one!

 

 

Cancer Strikes Again

I have been very quiet lately for a number of reasons. If you follow me on FB or on Twitter you probably have figure out the biggest change in our lives right now. It has nothing to do with either one of the children at college. It has nothing to do with Bible Study. It has nothing to do with either one of the kids cars. It has nothing to do with my fibromyalgia. It has nothing to do with my headaches. While all of those things are playing a BIG role in my life none of them come anywhere close to what is happening in my childhood home in New Carlisle Ohio right now.

My dad’s laryngeal cancer has returned for the third time. Thankfully it seems that the doctors always seem to catch the cancer early enough to be able to stay on top of it. For that I am grateful. He had a PET scan last week. Chemo will begin tomorrow. At this point things appear to be preceding like the last round – chemo once a week.

He has had a considerable amount of swelling in his throat for a number of weeks. He has also had some growths pop up around the area of his stoma (the location of his trach). I’m actually looking forward to the time when they chemo shrinks that area so that he will be able to eat normally again. He’s been having to eat via a feeding tube he had put in at the end of his last round of chemo before. We are all looking forward to that.

I’m not sure how he does this over and over again. I would be beyond depressed. And I can see the disappointment on him. But he understands that this is just something that has to be done and he goes and does them. So much has been taken from him. But somehow he keeps going.

I will be spending a lot of time up there over the months ahead. I’m not sure what that means at this point. In 2010 we had a very rocky year. I pray every day we don’t repeat that year. That year brought too many close calls. I hope to keep close by so I can help mom and help keep an eye on dad at the same time. We don’t want anymore emergency room visits or hospital stays. We want this to go smoothly. It may be the third cancer run but we want it to be smooth and successful. We got this, Daddy!!

What Are My Strongholds?

I began a new study this past week. Bible Studies at our church are so unpredictable. You think they are gonna be great. Last time I had one person sign up and 10 people showed up. For this study I had one person show up so I wasn’t worried and that person showed up. Just unpredictable. But I’m glad I look at it like whoever needs it is the one who shows up. So, we are changing rooms and my child care provider is this girl’s sister in law. So I am excited to see what the next 6 weeks holds. I’ve taught a lot of Thursday morning Bible Studies in my day. My day of being shaken by one person showing up has long past. Like I said I’m convinced that the one’s that show up are the one’s that are meant to get a message from the lessons. And one of those is me. So, I am ready. And we don’t really start lesson 1 until this coming Thursday so there’s still time for some new girls to come.

I started the week’s homework today. We are doing Beth Moore’s Living Free. It’s an older study. But it’s a strong one. Today’s lesson discussed the definition of a stronghold – anything that exalts itself above the power of God in our life. Just stopping to think off the top of my head I think of fear, worry and selfishness as immediate examples of strongholds in our lives today. Those were just the ones right off the top of my head.

Another lesson taught in today’s lesson was an introduction about praying God’s Word.

  1. Restate God’s truth, affirming your faith: Father, thank you that you are always good and that your love endures forever (I Chron. 16:34)
  2. Talk to God about passages you don’t understand: Faith Your word says, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (I John 2:6) I know that I do not live up to that standard. Please help me understand and walk like Christ.
  3. Ask God for what you need: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief?” (Mark 9:24)
  4. Confess sin and ask God to change your life: Father, I know that You hate pride and arrogance (Prov. 8:13); yet I see the ugly face of pride in my life. Teacher me today to be compassionate and humble (I Pet. 3:8)
  5. Praise God with your paraphrase of the words of Scripture: I know, Lord, that You are indescribably great. You are great than all the gods of this world. (Ps. 135:5)

This study is gonna be a good one! See you next round!