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Our young family battling stage IV breast cancer one day at a time
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Ready for Taxol

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I saw Dr. VanderWoude this morning and the tumor continues to shrink!  She is happy with my response to the chemo.  If she’s happy, I’m happy.  We talked about starting Taxol tomorrow.  Nothing has changed with the original plan.  We’re still doing a dose dense version and there are possible side effects.  She did say that since I had such a terrible time with nausea on A/C that she can’t rule it out with Taxol.  🙁  

Some bad news I found out at the doctor’s visit is that I gained five more pounds!  This is not good.  I would like to say it’s because of the steroids.  It’s not.  It’s due to the fabulous cooks who are bringing us food (particularly dessert).  I have a huge sweet tooth and no willpower.  Please do not take my weight gain drama as ungratitude for the food.  We’re very thankful for it.  I just need to show some restraint.  🙂 

It feels good to be half way through chemo.  I’m not at the half way point on the cancer road yet, but a very tough part is done.  I’m thankful for that. 

As far as tests are concerned, I still have the genetic testing to do.  This will see if I test positive or negative for a particular gene that makes me more susceptible to breast and ovarian cancer.  I don’t need another MUGA scan for my heart because I tested HER2 negative. 

Tomorrow is chemo and meet my new surgeon day.  It takes about four hours to get the new chemo.  Jill is my chemo buddy (that’s what she calls herself).  She’s going to take me to chemo where we’ll hang out, play some cards, eat lunch, I’ll get some chemo, she’ll get some relaxation and then we’ll go home. 

I also meet with my new surgeon tomorrow – Dr. Liberty-Hoberman.  I look forward to meeting and talking with her about the surgery.

Brooklyn, Max and Samantha had a great time last night at the church picnic.  Brooke came home with some really cool tattoos.  Since when do kids get tattoos at a CRC church picnic?  That would never have happened when I was a kid.  My how times have changed… I sound old. 

Mount A/C

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I made it down the other side of Mount A/C!  I conquered it.  It was quite a trek and I never want to do it again, but I’m glad it’s done.  I hope none of you ever have to experience it.   For those of you who’ve gone through it, we now belong to a sisterhood of strong women! 

Now….on to Taxol.  We’re doing a dose dense round of Taxol.  This means every two weeks, just like A/C.  I keep making the nurses, techs and cancer survivors promise me that Taxol isn’t as bad as A/C.  I’m clinging to hope that I won’t have to deal with nausea anymore.  I just can’t do it again.  They tell me it’s not a cake walk, but I won’t have to deal with nausea.  They say I’ll have pain in my muscles and bones.  Tingling and numbness in my hands and feet.  I don’t look forward to that.  Somtimes people can’t tolerate the dose dense version because tingling and numbness in the hands and feet become progressively worse and never go away.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen to me.  Maybe God will work a miracle and grant me four pain and problem free chemo treatments.  He can ya know. 

I’ve decided to switch surgeons to Dr. Liberty-Hoberman for the mastectomy.  Thanks to everyone for your referrals.  No offense to Dr. Housekamp, I just prefer a lady doctor.  Dr. Housekamp is a wonderful person and I feel bad for switching, but I gotta do what I gotta do.   

Oh and my Jeremiah verse still pops up time to time in various greeting cards and emails.  I love it. 

I don’t want to go!

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I am leaving in ten minutes for my last round of “nasty” chemo.  After today just four more rounds to go.  Then surgery.  Then radiation.  My hope is that the last four rounds are more tolerable than the first four. 

People ask me how long it takes before I feel better and what chemo is like.  I’ll go in today for about three hours while they give me A/C (Adriamycin and Cytoxin), anti-nausea and now potassium (my levels are low on that).  Tonight it will feel like the beginning of the flu.  I won’t feel good.  I feel like it’s getting worse.  Tomorrow is bad.  Friday is awful.  Saturday is horrible.  Sunday is unbearable and also when I reach my peak.  Monday is horrible.  Tuesday is awful.  Wednesday is bad/okay.  It’s kind of like climbing a mountain.  Then I usually have a week of okay days.  The nausea is usually tolerable.  It’s just pain and aches everywhere – even in my bones.  That’s what going through A/C is like for me. 

I hope to find out today that my tumor has shrunk even more, when I can start the last four rounds and when surgery will happen.  I’ll let you know what I find out. 

Thank you for your communication and prayers.  God has been doing great and awesome things for our family.  He provides in every way. 


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Our heartfelt condolences go the Wolters and Grassmid family.  Delia Wolters put up a strong and brave fight with cancer.  She went to her heavenly home last night.   Please pray that peace, rest and understanding will find Clarence, Steve and Marian Grassmid’s family and all of Delia’s loved ones.   We were so sad to hear the news.  We were seeing Delia quite a bit at the Cancer and Hematology center and she looked so strong.  I was hoping we would see her smiling face at church again.  She was such a wonderful and kind person.  She will be missed. 


I saw Dr. Edlund today.  He’s the radiation oncologist.  I like him.  He was good.  I’m going to have six weeks of radiation everyday (M-F) after surgery. 

Did you know I get tattooed for this?  I had no idea.  They’re just tiny little dots that look like freckles, but I did not know that!  The dots are to help them align lasers on the machine.  I took pride in not having a tattoo.  Now I think I should get a tattoo.  One that I choose.  One that I want.  This goes back to the control thing….. can you tell?

Since radiation is happening after surgery, I won’t have it for a few more months.  It’s good to know what the plan is. 

Chemo went well today.  They got my port on the first try.  They had difficulty because they couldn’t get blood flow so they had to “draino” the port.  The draino made it work right away so they could proceed with the meds. 

Now it’s the calm before the storm.  I’m waiting for the nausea to hit.  I feel okay at the moment.  I’m taking it five minutes at a time tonight.  Right now I’m good.  Five minutes from now, who knows.

One more round to go!

I’m not sick today!

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Today was the first day I did not take anti-nausea meds!  Yea me!  The day started out a little rocky, but turned around for the better. 

The prayers of God’s people are working.  I know it.  I can feel it.  I am pushed forward and carried through every day by your communication (let this be a notice that from this point forward I’m going to refer to emails, cards, calls, messages, texts, etc as “communication”).  The bible verses you’re giving me are so fitting.  By the way, my Jeremiah verse, yes I’m claiming it as mine, surfaced again in someone’s card this week.  Cool huh. 

I went to see Dr. Porter today and get my labs drawn.  Dr. Porter is a medical psychologist.  I have to start by saying I’ve never been to a psychologist before, but he’s not the “tell me about your childhood” kind of psychologist.  He’s more “so how’s the nausea going?” kind of psychologist that specializes in cancer patients.  He was good.  He gave good suggestions.  He suggested keeping some things as routine as possible so I don’t feel like cancer has taken over my entire life.   While he kept talking my mind started wandering about how routines and twins don’t always mix, but whatever.  I got his point. 

As far as I know my lab work was good.  I was a little concerned I was anemic, but they could tell me within a couple minutes of drawing that I’m not.   This is an answer to prayer too.  Last week I was slightly low and I was a little worried that a blood transfusion was in my future.

Dusty is doing well with his new role at HMI.  He seems very busy and happy with it.  Brooke is doing great and had a good time today at the Farmer’s Market with Avery and Bea’s (grandma Vander Zwaag).   Although she cried during the bee keeper demonstration because she was convinced the bees were going to sting her (sorry Avery – girls cry).  It was nothing that a giant sugar cookie couldn’t fix.  Max and Samantha had a typical day in the life of a 7-month-old – dirty diapers, veggies, fruits, bottles, playtime and naptime.    And now bedtime. 

Have a great night!

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