I turned these posts into a blog for a couple reasons… the first being my hope is to bring something to other people facing hard challenges in their life, if at all possible. The second may be somewhat selfish, but I really hope on meeting someone with my same rare cancer. Hopefully somehow this blog will make it to another Peripheral T-Cell Lymphoma fighter.

Sunshine, Rain, and Puddles:

It’s been awhile, I know, and I am missing a lot in this post, but it is plenty long. I have to admit my good days have been filling up with things to do and sitting to write my updates has not been a top priority. I miss doing them and I want to push them a little higher on the priority list. In this post you will see my current medical status, an abundance of gratefulness, a few nasty stories, a great poem written by me, and hopefully a little inspiration from somewhere in here that allows you to have a little sunshine!

Sunshine:

It is so peaceful to wake up in a hospital and feel blessed. Not just because I woke up and get to spend another day on this beautiful Earth, but also to have everything I need. Family, Friends, Dr.’s, and these amazing Hospital Workers who are dedicating their time to my recovery, my health, and my life. (Yes, I capitalized these people, because I felt it “proper”!) I cannot feel anything but peace. I enjoy having no doubts about my recovery. That doesn’t mean an hour from now that could change for a brief moment, but I will linger and cling to this freedom for as long as it stays with me. Well I know you are all waiting for an update and more sunshine! I can’t get enough of that overwhelming warmth either!

Thanksgiving was a blast! I think we had to set 40 table settings. Everyone brought so much food, but better than that their smiles, and love. Angel, Jaden and I changed up the Dirty Diaper recipe (Glorified homemade Hot Pockets infused with my Alfredo sauce, grilled chicken, bacon and mozzarella), via a Pinterest idea, and it saved so much time. Despite the disgusting name they were still a hit, and the recipe was asked for. Problem in this… it’s never the same, but always good. I made the sauce up and it changes a bit each time. I will put this on my to-do list! I wore the mannequin wig until the itching took over and enjoyed the rest of the day feeling soft breezes on my scalp. I love that I’m over hiding my head around family and friends… I still need to work on non-hospital public settings.

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****I know you are all waiting for this, as I was too!!! STANDFORD UPDATE!****

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First off I’m so thankful that my Mother (Jo Vanderdoes) and Sister (Niki) drove me up to Stanford. (We also had the most beautiful tag-along, who didn’t enjoy the car ride as much as I did. She was still a sunshine for me! I love my Team Bald Buddy Scarlet!) The real sun was covered in rain clouds but beamed from our attitudes. Could not have asked for a better road trip crew! On with the details!

#1 Upon getting my PET scan results I have learned that my cancer, after just 2 treatments, is shrinking!!!!!!!!!! YES SHRINKING!!!!!!! I also learned that my situation is very rare HOWEVER… not on a solo path. Dr. Advani says she has treated several others who had the large B-Cell lymphoma previously. That makes me feel better, even though I have no idea if they survived or not. I guess just knowing I’m not the only person who has gone through this helps. Dr. Advani also drew out what B-cell and T-cell lymphoma look like and they look very similar. The pathologists then have to brake down the lymphoma on a molecular level to really know the type. This is why during both of my cancers, it took so long to get answers on the type.

#2 I got a plan! As I have mentioned before, and if any of you know me, I like plans. So I have one! I will have 6 total chemo treatments. If all goes positively, I will then be a candidate for Stem-Cell treatment. We have started the process of getting to the Stem-Cell Dr. He has a 2 month waiting list, which really makes this pretty perfect, as again if all goes well I should be done with chemo in February. (I plan on kicking the shit out of this Cancer! 😉 ) I will get to use my own stem-cells. This makes me so happy as I have heard that the effects on donors are not always positive and can even have cancerous results. I honestly have conscious issues with even allowing anyone to do that for me. I was so happy to know we are going to be using my own! Down side is 6 months of stem-cell stuff and at least at some point a 14-21 day stay at the Stanford hospital, but I am blessed that they are a preferred provider on my insurance!

#3 I got permission to exercise!!!! The chemo shrunk the cancerous lung nodules and this has allowed for better breathing. I have some rules, like not pushing through workouts as I would have before. It has to be light and manageable. I really want to take some time to put together a chemo-exercise plan as there isn’t much out there. (((Oh, the ideas I have! I just wish sleep was not necessary sometimes.)))

#4 I understand my cancer better. Yes it is rare but it has been beaten! This is huge! The internet paints a dismal picture. So… my chances of survival with just Chemo are 40% with stem-cell treatment it shoots to 66%. I’m really bad at math, but to me that means I have 106% chance of beating cancer! 😉 There is this 20% chance that the chemo may stop working, however, I’m going to forget that little fact and focus on 106%!!!!

#5 God spoke to me directly after leaving my Stanford appointment. (I know some of my friends are not believers, hell even my husband is in that boat and I am respectful of that.) Walking outside the hospital, I looked up to find the sky lit with the brightest rainbow glowing above me. There was also an average rainbow right above it. There is a larger, more in depth story to this that I will have to share in another post. It will be a testimony, but for now, I do believe, feel, and know that this is my sign. For those of you who have never been spoken to by God, or have been, I can say this for only myself. For me His signs are visual and His words come in waves of flooding emotions into my soul. For these moments do not always come in quiet places, but when He speaks time stands still. A feeling of peace, and a resolution of empowering courage, strengthen my mind, body, and spirit. There is nothing earthly about these moments and the ethereal grace being given is something I treasure.

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#6 The little things… I have posted some pretty huge blessings and I think it is time to give some love to the little sunshines helping me along the way. Music, my Pandora or Spotify are on all the time. (Feel free to link me to anything, I am pretty open.) Messages, cards, texts, and calls oh my! I am so grateful for the positivity and love I get from them! New PJ’s and beanies, I am rocking the hospital halls in style! (I even match.) Laughs… I have been doing so much laughing lately! Asparagus! I know makes our pee smell weird, but I love it and it’s on the hospital menu… can’t beat that! Coffee creamer, need I say more? Hugs! My niece Penny is by far the best hugger around! The ability to do more with my kids, with school on hold, and stepping down from a leadership role, I am able to see them more and do things. My handicap sign. Not always needed but it sure helps when the pain starts coming. Internet access… but really that just gets me to Pinterest and Facebook, I should be honest here and admit I may have a problem, nah… I will wait until I have done a few more projects, and tried a few more recipes! I am most of all grateful for my good days! I appreciate them and look forward to them even on the worst days.

Rain:
So… sometimes life gives you lemons, and sometimes it feels like someone is shaking the whole damn over-ripened lemon tree above your head. My advice besides buying a helmet.. forget lemonade (really overrated beverage if you ask me!) instead visit this site 😉 Thanks Pinterest! http://www.trueactivist.com/45-uses-for-lemons-that-will-blow-your-socks-off/. Okay that would be sound advice if it was actually lemons, but I guess real problems are not so easily taken care of. I try to find the good in each situation, and it usually comes down to relationship.
Before my last chemo session I spent most of the day with a flat tire, and in that I met a very nice truck driver that said he would add me to his churches prayer list. This didn’t change the fact that 4 new tires had to be purchased even though only one was out of commission, but life rolls on. My brother-in-law even called the tire place to make sure I wasn’t being pushed around, again I have people (relationship) there to help.

Then the heat went out in my home while I was in the hospital. We are on a boiler system and not many local heating businesses service them. We were able to secure someone to come out about a week later and get it working. Another couple hundred dollars (sour lemon) for a warm home! {{Well worth it.}} When I posted to Facebook, I had friends who were willing to help us find a servicer. Relationship!

Then the doosey that is still not 100%… our well, our life source! Life on 10 acres is not always so easy. I don’t get to call up the city and ask about my water, or gas. We are responsible for those things. Bottom line, after getting billed $900.00 to fix the well and having it be in the same position less than 24 hours later was disheartening. Now here we go with relationship again. My sister without question welcomed me and my children into her home. Let me tell you, they live in a small 3 bedroom apartment, and have 3 girls of their own. That is 3 adults, 9 kids, and we made it work. Luckily again Relationship, my husband has friends who have worked on wells and they came out to help. Right now the well is working at low capacity. We are managing. A new $3k pump has been ordered and will be here mid December. We unfortunately do not have an extra $3k laying around, but one of the friends is purchasing it and allowing us to make payments. Again… Relationship. What can I say other than, Life… Lemons… Love.

I just had to add a new rain… I cannot believe what I am hearing next door. It has brought me to tears. There is a wife next door yelling at her husband, who has cancer saying, “Why can’t you just get better, I don’t have time for this. I can’t be coming here all the time!” It is taking me everything not to go in that room and yell back at her. I know everyone grieves in their own way, and I do not know their story, but my heart is with him. I pray that somehow he knows it’s not his fault he is sick, and that God gives him peace despite the situation. This also makes me even more grateful for my support system. I am never talked to that way, I am never made to feel like a burden. The only person who brings on that feeling is me. I know I try my best not to be, but I am never made to feel like a burden. I took a walk down the halls to get away from their noise. I was met with open doors and saw most patients in bed, long faced family members, and I could not help but notice the gray hair, wrinkles, and age spots adorning their bodies. I have to look away, and head back to my room. It’s too much. I am always the only one walking the halls, and the hospital with my victory staff (a name given to my IV pole), and it makes me sad. I know that every moment I am well enough to do something, I will! Every moment I feel energy, I will use it! Every opportunity I’m given to thank someone, I will be grateful. Every opportunity to feel joy, I will remember. It is these moments, where I too am in bed, unable to get passed the nausea, pain, and fatigue that I will hold close all that strengthens me, because even in my lowest moments, I will live.

Puddles:

I have ranted above, so I will keep my puddle stories to a minimum and perhaps only include the most disgusting for a good entertainment! {{You think I am joking?}} Let’s go with the puddles of spit up, urine, and vomit that I have encountered recently. Did I mention it wasn’t mine?

My sweet niece Scarlet is such a happy baby. I barely hear her fuss and she only sounds the alarm when she is hungry. She is always smiling and loves more than anything to be talked to and held. She is awfully thankful for this as well, and gives back in the only way she knows how. A warm wet mix of half digested formula is always at my disposal! You haven’t lived until you have felt this warm concoction burst onto your chest and carve its way down into the crevices of your bosoms. The river flows on eventually creating a river (if lucky), or pond in the bottom of your bra… unless that is you happen to not be wearing one and then the ooze just continues running. Bellybuttons create a nice reservoir. Really my darling Scarlet should be paid for this top rate spa service, it beats mud any day!

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Her little spa blessings don’t end there, and perhaps this is really my own fault or discovery. Really this should just be a formal disclaimer! ALWAYS wrap the dirty diaper immediately after taking it off. Do not wait, do not pass go, do not collect $200.00, WRAP the diaper! Then proceed with changing. Thank God this special spa treatment didn’t include a solid. I put the weight of my body on my hand as I leaned on the couch, I was then greeted with a urinary moisturizer! Wipes were very handy, and luckily close by.
While watching my nieces on Black Friday, I was amazed at the amount of puke a 2 year old could produce, not to mention the lingering smell. Sour milk has a way of crawling into your nostrils and embedding itself into your nose hair follicles. Luckily while I washed the thickened chunks from Kali’s hair, which she did not appreciate in the slightest, Mark cleaned the chunky white clumps that were projected on the pillow, blanket, couch, and floor. This inspired me to write a poem.

NO’de to Milk

I must admit I never liked you much,
Except when my cookies had a little crunch,
As you are drunk I hope to see you stay,
After mixing in that acid it’s truly time to pray,
I have now seen this side of you and it’s really quite messed,
I am resound to say now and always soft cookies are the best!