Saturday, August 31, 2013

When It Rains...

This past week has been one for the record books. A week ago yesterday I thought I might be dying. Not trying to be overly dramatic here, but I truly wondered if it all might be coming to an end a whole lot faster than I originally thought. I was weak as a baby, short winded, and scared. David called Highland's answering service at 6 am and Dr. Beck quickly called back. We ended up going in as soon as they opened and discovered my BP was super low, while pulse was racing. I was dehydrated. Ended up upstairs in a bed getting fluids and other stuff. They stopped me from taking the Xeloda and Afinitor, for now.

So this past week has been recovery time, which should've meant peace and quiet and no stress. Things don't always work out that way, though, do they? 

The night before my bottoming out, our plumbing decided to do something it's been threatening to do for years now...completely rot out. Suddenly our toilets were overflowing and tub and showers were backing up. Absolute total ICK!! And, of course this was happening after hours. Plumber came and got the lines cleared out, which bought us about  2 days of flushable plumbing...until it did it all again. This time plumber was back with the camera. He scoped it out and found a huge hole in the pipe about a foot under the middle of our main bathroom. It was time for excavation. No amount of roto-rootering was going to help this mess. 

So, thanks to the help of some teacher friends and their husbands, we were sent a nice, honest, fast working plumber who could take care of it. We had to pack it up and head to a hotel last Tuesday night so they could start first thing Wednesday. 

We spent 3 nights in the nearby Residence Inn (thanks to my sweet mom and dad-in-law), which really wasn't that bad at all. It helped that I was beginning to feel better. On Tuesday I had gone in for lab work, which I thought was going to be a quick in and out. My youngest son, Sean, was my driver and wheelchair pusher on this day. Yes, wheelchair. I was still too weak to remain upright and steady long enough to get very far. So he pushed me in to Highlands for this quick visit, and we ended up staying 3 hours. I was still dehydrated, and now with an extremely low white count and platelets and a weird rash around my abdomen and mouth sores and thrush. It seems I was bottoming out later than most do with this chemo, therefore was not given the magic shot that's supposed to keep all this from happening. My lab work of last week and week prior were deemed fine and good. 

Three years ago they gave me a shot of Neulasta following each heavy chemo. I called it my golden shot, not because of how great it was, but because it's unbelievably expensive. But this time nothing...until this week. I think this protocol will change next round. I've been to Highland's 3 times this week for Neupogen, which is the not quite so golden little brother of Neulasta.

So, I camped out at the Residence Inn for three days. I love hotels, and the fact that I did not see any more than the handicapped room in which we stayed tells you something. I hear the pool area, breakfast area, hearth room and lobby were quite nice. 

And, of course, as things go around here, we received a call from the plumber on Wednesday evening letting us know they could not find a decent section of pipe on which to attach the new plumbing and needed to dig under the vanity.          

Of course.          

Thursday morning a carpenter had to come in and remove the vanity, so David headed to the house after work to empty the very full cabinets out and remove the drawers.

Let's make a long story short here. I am back at home as of yesterday, there is a huge bathroom vanity in my front room, along with boxes of all the stuff from within said vanity. I have one bathroom that needs a floor and a sink, but we've got flushable toilets and showers that will not be backing up! Hot-diggity!

God has blessed us this week. We made it through, (though I realize we aren't finished yet) and things are calm and peaceful. I have been blessed by amazing gifts, both monetarily and otherwise, from sweet friends and family, and am counting my many blessings. I feel well enough to write this, so yay to that, too. 

Sure hope your week was better than mine, though.

My new bathroom.
 This is where we stand today. Just happy that toilet works!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Chemo and Other Stuff

I know I need to update this. This has been a frustrating week, following chemo, and, more horribly, following whole brain radiation. I am not myself. I am slow and weak and tired and cannot ambulate like normal. Everything is working, just spinning at the same time. I hold the walls while walking down the hallway, and am thankful for my small house without stairs. 

It's been nearly a week since I ended WBR and began chemo. I have read that it may take weeks for the effects of WBR to wear off, and I am tired of this. It seems slightly worse each day, but maybe not. Maybe it's just the same and I can't tell. 

I did want to give an update on what regimen of chemo I am now on.

I will be infused with Carboplatin (fairly "well tolerated") each 3 weeks. In addition to that, I am taking two oral medications, Xeloda (2 weeks on, 1 week off) and something fairly new called Afinitor. Xeloda is also a fairly newish chemo drug that has shown good results for many metastatic breast cancer patients. I am praying it will give me lots of extra time. The Afinitor is different. It does something with blocking certain cancer inducing proteins (or maybe just one protein - I really do not totally comprehend). I think, anyway. Brain not to be trusted right now.

Dr. Beck and his team sent a section of the original tumor tissue off to some amazing and "savante" genetic expert at Oregon Health and Science University and received info that there are, indeed, some bad genes in my makeup. They actually have it broken down and can tell you the specific name of these genes. This a something new since my last round. 

So, they are doing all they can to be at the forefront of cancer testing and fighting, including using the newest genetic technologies and information. There are some clinical trials that coincide with that and it's possible I may be able to participate in one of those. I am still not understanding all of it, though. Dr. Beck was to have conferred with this genetic science expert guy last week. 

As far as side effects, I am still feeling those and will for a while. As mentioned earlier, most of the worst is from the radiation treatment. But the other meds are also affecting me. I have a somewhat sore mouth, which is tolerable. One of the best parts of the day is when I get a good, cold, ice-creamy like smoothie. Yummy and feels so good in my mouth and in my tummy. I guzzle seltzer water at times. I'm not sure why, but it feels great in my mouth. 

I am inordinately thirsty. I have little to no moisture in my mouth, and now I'm noticing my eyes feeling very dry. I think this is a side effect of the Xeloda. 

Also, as many of you already know, my hair is gone. David gently shaved it off over a week ago, as it was coming out in handfuls, and it continues to fall out, though I think is mostly done. This is all due to radiation, not chemo this time. And with WBR, it's sporadic and patchy. I actually have a mohawk and I think it's here to stay. It has to do with where the radiation is given. The mohawk thing is very common, I think. So much for that.

I am down to 1/2 dexamethasone pill each day for about 3 more days. They are tapering me off, and I will be so glad to be done with it. As long as I don't have headaches (or, God forbid, seizures). It interfered with my sleep something awful, so I am now sleeping some better. Of course, some of this has to do with heavy duty cough meds I have. My cough gets bad at night, so this has become a necessity.

And, as an aside, and a wonderful blessing I have had for the past few day -- I have spent hours outside. The weather here has been about as perfect as weather can be, and I have gone out back to my little backyard oasis and literally sat for hours at a time, beginning at about 5 each morning. I just sit, wrapped in a blanket, and feel the cool air on my face and look at the trees, and my flowers, and my garden, and the pool, and watch the sun slowly rise. My neighbor has a huge tree that blocks the sun for a good bit, so I can just sit for hours. I find myself sitting there asleep at times, almost catatonic...I find I cannot nor do I want to move. The feel of the air on my face is near perfect. I am convinced that Heaven will feel a bit like that...with trees and green and that early morning smell. Happy moments. David fixed me up in one of our lounge chairs as the morning wore on this weekend (after the dew dried), and I lay there in the shade, under our big umbrella and watched as he did my old jobs - gardening, watering, pruning. I felt so luxurious and spoiled.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Welcome to Megan - Finally!!

If you are observant or a careful reader, you may have noticed in my previous "art teacher forever" post, that I mentioned a "couple of good things". Perhaps this has left you hanging. Perhaps you are wondering what that second good thing might be! Two art sessions do not count.

The art conference thing was, indeed, a good thing. Good and normal. Good and hopeful.

But I've got something even more exciting and great and absolutely better than "normal".

It seems last week my oldest son, JC, finally asked his precious Megan for her hand in marriage. And let me cut to the chase...she said "yes".

They have been dating for about 3 years now. In fact, dating began during my first cancer battle in 2010, and she began showing up at our house during chemo sickness and baldness and everything...and did not get scared away. She's a keeper. She even sat with JC (and me) on more than one occasion when he took the role as my chemo-buddy on infusion days.

What adds to the sweetness of this is that I've known this was coming for months now. Back in the spring, he asked me to accompany him as he searched out the perfect ring. He, being male, was not terribly comfortable visiting jewelers and asking questions about color, cut, clarity, carat, etc. And I, having worked in the fine jewelry business many moons ago, was invited to help. 

This may tell you a little about this future daughter-in-law of mine. He had no qualms about leaving her out of the selection process. Not because he does not respect her wishes or is a dominant male who wants control...far from it. In fact, they had talked rings and she had refused to give him any idea of what she wanted, other than anything would be fine. She just wanted HIM. And he wanted to really surprise her. How often does that happen these days? And how very refreshing.

So, back in the spring he and I spent a couple of days visiting local jewelers and narrowing down what he thought she would like. I did very little, other than possibly asking some decent questions and helping clarify the whole diamond ring buying process. And encourage...I can do that. Oh,...and modeling and trying on...never above that bit of help, either. We had a great and son. A couple of salespeople even commented and said how they'd love to get to do the same with their son someday. I felt pretty blessed that he was including me. We made memories that I know he will always cherish, now more than ever.

And he DID find THE RING. A beautiful, white gold, vintage/engraved setting. Very unique and very Megan. And he bought it...and he's had it...for months!!

He's been waiting for the perfect time...and waiting to sit down with her parents and discuss this first and ask for her hand in marriage. I am so proud of my boy.

So when this whole cancer thing returned, things got serious. I wasn't going to wait any longer, and told him if he did not ask her soon, I was going to. 

I'll not go into the details of the rest, as in the sweet proposal on a scenic cliff in the Ozarks (where he first asked her to be his girlfriend), or the tea lights, or the old fashioned proposal that did not involve a camera or video or YouTube, but a good old-fashioned proposal, just the two of them. The only cameras involved were those in their own minds and memories. Oh, and I probably should not mention the chiggers that apparently also were there. JC is still feeling that memory!

But, obviously, we are very excited about this new member of our family. We have loved Megan for a very long time now. She "gets" our sometimes quirky family, and she comes from a close, loving, large and amazing family, so she is one big winner and we know we've won some kind of lottery getting her as daughter-in-law. 

Rejoice with us as we welcome this wonderful young lady and look forward to the celebration to come! Such great news!!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Right Now

I have another "normal" blogpost waiting in the wings...waiting for me to feel more "normal". The way things have been the past few days, that may not happen.

Right now I am trying not to take any meds they didn't say I HAD to take...which is only the Dexamethasone (right now, 2 a day - they are tapering me off). I don't like being made to feel any more different than I already do, which is A LOT DIFFERENT. 

Today I have succumbed to the anti-nausea meds, though, which has me a bit spacey, but I am determined to get something written here, and maybe even finish that other post.

But just in case there is anyone looking for side effects of WBR and other info, here is where I am right now:

**Dizzy / light headed - been that way for a good while now. David and I actually walked outside last night. He had to learn to hang onto me like someone's 80 100 year old granny. It was a beautiful cool evening, odd for August, so I knew it was time to get out and air my head. If you followed my blogging from 3 years ago, you know this was a nightly event on my part and hugely therapeutic.

So, he walked me to the end of the block and back...and that was all I could handle. I then sat on the front porch and just breathed for a while. Which, with the way my lungs have been lately, is saying something.

**Doing too much coughing for my liking, especially at night.

**My handwriting has changed. I noticed this in the past couple of days. It's a bit like a child's and I have to think about which way things go. Not happy with this side effect, obviously.

**As mentioned earlier, I fight nausea at times. And with the occasional coughing fit, it does not help. I am ready to get some chemo in me next week and start killing whatever is growing in my lungs. Praying, praying, praying that that happens.

**Headaches. Not terrible usually, and I think the Dex is supposed to be helping there, but they come. I have taken to wearing different glasses. The weight of my other trendy frames was seeming a bit much at times.

**I am sensitive to smells. Strong food or perfumes or whatever odors are just too much at times.

**Certain food commercials gag me. We eat an awful lot of garbage in this country, and it's all over the television. I resent every one of them, for some reason. The lies are just too much, I guess.

**I am tired a lot. Period.

**Favorite foods are watermelon, clementines, nectarines, blueberries, just about any fruit, and for some reason, refried beans - black or brown. I love my Japanese green tea (thank you Megumi and family), which I find myself sipping several times a day. I am drinking a crazy amount of seltzer water, too. It has to be fresh and cold and not diluted with ice. Feels good on the tummy and I enjoy any belching that follows. Life's simple pleasures.

**Yesterday the hair went. It was coming out in handfuls, and my precious husband gently worked to get rid of the offending mass that was creeping me out. I read that your head can be tender with WBR, so he was extra careful. The follicles had been tender for a couple of days or so, but no probs with the cutting. I am glad to be done with it. No cute photos or anything this time (like in a previous blog). It was just a nice private time  between the two of us.

So that's a bit of where I am at the now. I don't like the feeling that my brain is not normal now, and am praying that once the swelling decreases (assuming it does) that I will begin feeling more like me again. I HATE feeling so different, and knowing it's not due to medication or whatnot, but that it's what is physically happening inside my own head.

Keep praying. I'm making it, just keep praying.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Art Teacher Forever

Next week my WBR ends and chemo begins. I still don't know what regimen I will receive, and part of me doesn't want to know. So, I though I'd just ignore all of that and focus on a couple of good things that have come my way this week. Accentuate the positive, eliminate the least for today.

As many of you know, I am an art teacher in beautiful Northwest Arkansas. I am blessed to live in a state that actually mandates elementary art education for grades 1-6, which makes an amazing difference in the lives of thousands of children. I am thankful and proud to be a part of this wonderful profession.

Since NWA is now home to one of the premier art museums in the USA, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, this is all even more impactful for these kids and their families.

However, due to this terminal diagnosis I have been dealt, my days of teaching art are very likely over. I will forever be an art teacher, though. The students, teachers, administrators, and other teaching professionals I work with and have met along the way have been a fabulous part of a very fabulous life. Can I say it again?...I am so thankful to be a part of this profession.

If you want to see a smidgen of what I do, then check out a great resource called "Artsonia". I really didn't begin using it until last year. If you Google me and Artsonia, you can see some of our projects from last year (remember - two schools: Walker and Shaw). For more on me and my kiddos, I also have a "Mrs. Brigman's Art Room" Facebook group. It's closed, but if you ask permission, I might let you in! Lot's of fun video and images there, too, and you get an idea of what goes on in some of my happy places. (I am not linking any of this here. I figure if you are interested enough, you can find it.)

So, where is the good news here? (other than it's good that I love my job.)

Well, art teachers have conferences, both state and national, and I am almost always a presenter at our state conference, which is not saying a whole lot. I do enjoy it, though. It's my small way of paying back a great state that takes care of their youngest artists. I do a bunch of extra planning, organizing, arranging for a sub, then I haul stuff in my van (usually with a few other art teachers in tow) to Little Rock in late October or so and present some fun hands-on activity, or a best practice discussion, or both. Always fun and rewarding. Arkansas art teachers are the best!

Back in the spring of this year, though, I actually submitted proposals to be a presenter at the National Art Ed Convention in March of 2014. This is a convention I have often attended, but never as a presenter. I have been fortunate to work in a district that makes this possible.

And, as perhaps you have guessed, my proposals for presenting two sessions were accepted this week. I received my congratulatory email from someone at NAEA, explaining that, and stroking my ego by telling me how many submissions there were and how few were accepted. It's in San Diego, which probably added to the submissions! 

So, I was excited to get some good "normal" news this week! It does seem bittersweet, though. I am honored and excited about presenting, but at the same time realize that it may not happen. Right now, I am going to savor the thought of presenting in San Diego next March. I will be praying that I will get this cancer under control and be beyond the chemo and chemical sickness and feel good enough to do this. I sure am not going to turn them down yet!!

And, if you are curious about the titles of my two sessions, they are:

--Street Art: What Happens When You Teach 200 5th Graders How to Sculpt with Tape

--Facebook Groups: The Secure and Easy Way to Show Off Your Art Program

Sound fascinating, don't they? I think so! 
And...why doesn't EVERYONE want to be an art teacher?? That's a question I've never understood.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Whole Brain Radiation

I wanted to share a bit about this bizarre procedure I am undergoing everyday for 13 days, not counting weekends. 

My final day of WBR (whole brain radiation) is next Tuesday, August 13. On that day I will go from radiation, straight to "chemo class" and then to the infusion room for the first round of my systemic whole body poisoning. 

As an aside, there is something called a "blood brain barrier" that prevents chemo from crossing over to the brain as it should. I have been told that WBR helps break down that barrier, which should make chemo more effective.

Here is my miniscule understanding of how WBR works. If you are a medical physicist, or some such person, please forgive my shallow understanding, and feel free to comment and clarify in any way you can! 

First of all, this is not a procedure for everyone, only those who have so may lesions on the brain, that treating individual spots is not possible. There are procedures known as CyberKnife or Gammaknife or, more generically, Stereostatic Radiosurgery (SRS). These are "surgeries" done using radiation techniques that can pinpoint and eliminate individual tumors within parts of the body, often the brain. However, my brain is so full of lesions that this is not a possibility. So my WHOLE BRAIN gets treated. Not ideal, but really the only option to try and eliminate as many bad things going on in there as possible.

Today, I asked my radiation therapists to take a few photos of this procedure, just so you'd have some idea of this, my daily 9:50 occurrence. The whole procedure takes less than 10 minutes, once I am on the table and strapped down. 

Let me preface this by stating that the therapists you see pictured here are the sweetest, kindest, most caring people you could ever meet. They are ultra sensitive to how I am feeling, and yesterday I was swooped into a wheelchair as soon as they set eyes on me. I did not think I was that bad off, but, fighting mystery nausea, I did have Sean drive me, thinking it might not be the best for me to go solo. I guess as soon as they saw me they knew I did not need to be standing upright. I was grateful for the wheelchair, and not too proud to use it. Today seemed better, thank goodness.

So, to start with, how do you get your own mask? Before any treatment begins, you get your own personal mask formed by two very sweet and chatty ladies who drape a very warm and wet plastic mesh thing over your face. They then spend a few minutes pressing this down onto your face and nose area so it fits as closely as possible, using small fans to blow, cool, and create a permanent face shape only for you. It works. They then do some taping and marking and measuring and I don't know what all to make sure everything lines up perfectly. Before any radiation is done, they line all up using xrays and CT scans and double and triple check that "things" go where they should go.

Ready to get masked.
See white thing above my head - that's the mask.
Getting me positioned for treatment.
The table is cushioned and they always place a pillow under my legs and offer a blanket.

I don't know if this is the beginning or ending.
I do know the technicians are NOT in the room when I am getting treated.
Me and the machine.

These lovely people always make me feel better...
an amazing feet.

Ready to go.
The "mask" is strapped down to a plastic head shape sort of thing.
No moving!

That blue and grey thing is the radiation machine. It moves left, right, up, down, all around me to get in the perfect zapping position, making whirring and clicking sounds as it goes.

Masked and ready to go.

Part of my Sunny Spring View on the ceiling...It could be a lot worse.

Better view of me in the mask attached to the table/head holder thing...
and part of the machine.


What they see when they leave the room.
Me on the monitor.
They are never far away.

Some oddities that occur during treatment:

  • I do see a blue light during each round of radiation. It lasts just a few seconds, but it's definitely there...and bright blue.
  • There IS an odd smell that also occurs. Not offensive, and apparently not always a side effect, but I smell it. I have decided it smells slightly like the smell of the tap water in my house that is not filtered - so slightly chlorinated. Our kitchen filter prevents that smell, but I get it in the bathroom. Go figure.
  • The coolness of the mask is almost a comfort. It does not make be feel claustrophobic, as it does for some. I am not wearing it for long enough, I suppose.
  • I close my eyes and pray while undergoing this. Still see that blue light, though.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Elders, Anointing, and Peace

I have been processing the events of last Thursday night. How do I put into words the amazing and wonderful event that occurred in a small upstairs room at one of the buildings on my church campus at Fellowship this week?

Last Sunday morning, following worship service, David and I visited the Prayer Room, for obvious reasons. The Prayer Room is a private room designated for those who feel the need for prayer following a worship service. The room is quiet with lamps and secluded sections with comfortable chairs. Most importantly, members of our elder board and their spouses are also there, waiting. 

Newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer to my brain, lungs, liver, possible pancreas, and who knows where else, and we were reeling. We are not geniuses, but we recognize when we NEED HELP. And we are far from too proud. We've visited that Prayer Room a couple of other times, and it's never fun. Emotional and serious and tearful, but such is life at times. To hide from these events is foolish and even selfish.

We met with Kent and his wife, Terry, who listened intently and were quick to comfort and hold us and pray fervently. Their prayers were comforting and strengthening and we suddenly did not feel quite so alone. They immediately promised to make plans to get with the rest of the Elders to pray with us as a group.

The following day, Kent contacted David and said they wanted us to come to church some evening that week for a time of prayer and anointing with oil. We, of course, were more than willing. In fact, many of these same elders had done just that during my first cancer diagnosis in 2010. We knew what a special and strengthening time it would be. Thursday night it was.

And to make it even more special, many members of our community group also attended. These are people that we meet with regularly for Bible study and fellowship, and who keep a large church body such as Fellowship from seeming quite so large. We know each other better than most and love each other, warts and all. They were there to support and comfort, and that they did!!

So, we met with the elders at 7:00 on Thursday evening this past week. We were greeted and seated comfortably in two seats. Everyone was introduced, our community group members in attendance were also seated, and I, with the help of David, explained my current situation...and the praying began.

I will not go into detail, other than to say these are obviously Godly men who know how to speak through the Spirit. They know that the Spirit intercedes in our "groaning", as it says in Romans. We may not know what to say, but the Spirit's got it covered (thank God!). I count on this daily - as my words are usually pretty pathetic, and rambling, and sometimes confused. 

Their words, however, were NOT pathetic. They felt golden and divine and they put things into words that I only dream of doing. We were ministered to in amazing ways. Not to be overly dramatic, but I felt the Spirit of God hovering over and around all of us.

One at a time, each elder knelt before us and laid his hands on us and anointed our foreheads with fragrant oil (James 5:14, etc.), before following with the most comforting and sincere prayers...some so quiet only David and I could hear. These men were there for US, and no one else.

I went through numerous tissues, of course, as did David. But somewhere in there, that peace came. That peace that transcends all came. Sweet relief! feel that unbelievable peace in my mind and my heart. 

I know this is the battle for my LIFE, for my BODY - but it is also a battle for my MIND. I have heard the voices in there - those voices from the evil one. Voices that bring doubt and fear and anger and resentment and, perhaps, worst of all, apathy.

I left feeling hopeful and buoyed and loved unconditionally. Every single one of these men made the point to tell us what a BLESSING it was for THEM to be allowed to pray for us. Needless to say, it was mutual. I know their prayer will continue and that I have the BEST PRAYER WARRIORS on my side. Not just these wonderful men, but so many, many of you. You, who are standing in the gap, when my words don't come or I am too beat to do much else. I praise God for you all.

It was a blessing walking out of that building with my community group brothers and sisters by my side. With humor and promises and love, we all returned to our cars with relief and thankfulness, feeling ready to take on whatever may come...and not alone.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Can a Smoothie Be a Miracle?

Here is a little bit of heaven...
A son (Sean) who takes you to get your brain radiated before going to the hospital for chemo port surgery, and listens with empathy and sympathy while I whine about thirst and hunger (exacerbated by side effects of meds).

Sweet nurses who all take an interest in my story, with sympathy (whichs keeps me with tissue in hand). One particular nurse who wraps my dehydrated arm in a warm, wet towel to insure good veins for IV, which works beautifully. Did not feel a thing.

Finally go to surgery around 11:30, and finally get my ice water around 1:00. Oh, the pleasure!!

I am horribly and blissfully out of it, so we don't leave until around 2:30 or so. Get home to bed and Sean makes me possibly the best healthy fruit smoothie I've ever tasted. I loved it so much, he did it twice. I did not want it to end! Then David came home and did it again! Can I just live on smoothies from now on? Bliss. 

Between then and this rambling and Percocet influenced account, I am resting and being worthless and praising God for my good men.

Ahhh...the blessings!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Warning: Downer Post Here (hopefully not the norm)

Morning comes, and I awake from a somewhat decent sleep (4:30 am today), thanks to the Klonipin I've been prescribed. Then reality hits. Another day of cancer. Another day of lightheadedness and drunk walking. Is it the Klonipin? The radiation? The tumors? WHAT is it? 

Not to mention the lethargy and frequent tears...out of no where. I see a photo, recall a memory, think about my children, my home, my husband, my job, my friends, my dogs, for pete's sake! I read amazingly sweet and strong and comforting notes and emails and facebook posts. Then the tears come. Don't get me wrong...I'm not sitting over here boo-hooing non-stop and going through boxes of tissue...but they do come. And I am already tired of it. And yes, I'll be the first to admit, I AM feeling sorry for myself.

I know this is true for all people in my situation. I felt this way before, even. Before, when there still seemed to be hope for a cure - for remission - for a win.

I find myself Googling things like "when does crying stop following metastatic diagnosis?" Google has not helped much here. 

So, this is where I am at this moment in time. Perhaps I need to be taking that Klonipin (anti-anxiety med) during the day. That's how it was prescribed, and it's not supposed to sedate me, but I think it does, and I don't like the idea of being drugged when I want to LIVE what life I have left. So I backed off of it during the daytime. I just need something to make this worry and fear go away. I plead to my Father, and He IS my Comforter, but I am also human and think of things I probably should not be thinking of. 

Today's agenda: Brain Rads at 9:50 (lots of upbeat people there - I was one once - it's almost too much now, though), Dr. Bell at 3:15 to plan for chemo port placement, a visit to the Elders at Fellowship at 7:00 tonight for prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing with oil. If you so are inclined, be with us in spirit.

Be praying for Divine Strength and Peace and Healing - always HEALING. God bless you all.