Saturday, February 12, 2011


Well, I can now officially say that I've had a MUGA scan.  I don't know what the results are yet but I've done it.  I used my most endearing ways to try to wheedle the results out of the technician that did the scan but she just accused me of trying to make her lose her job.  Whatever.  I can wait until Monday...more patience taught by God.  YES, I am teachable.  8-)

The first thing they do with a MUGA scan is put in an IV.  I couldn't believe they couldn't use my port but sure enough, they couldn't.  The technician said the port is just over the heart and if they inject the radiation tagged blood in there that they'll get a 'yucky' picture.  Yup, that was the technical term for the problem with using the port.  A 'YUCKY' picture.  I guess that was the start of the deterioration of the relationship between the technician and myself.  So, she stuck me.  Actually, I didn't feel anything when she stuck me so it was not a big deal when it was all done.  Then they draw some blood out and take it to be 'tagged' with a some radiation material.  Then they inject the radiation tagged blood in through the IV and remove the IV.  After that they take you back to a room to lie down while they take pictures of your heart as the tagged blood travels through it.  

After doing some research on the internet, it looks like before they started the adriamycin, they should have done a MUGA scan to get a baseline reading of my heart and then checked it periodically between each chemotherapy dose to make sure that the chemo wasn't causing problems with the heart.  None of that was done so here we are.  Hopefully, the doctor will be wrong and it won't be my heart causing the lack of circulation in my legs and feet. 

Tom and I did our usual Saturday shopping today.  It is REALLY nice to be able to get out and about again and doing so to just be the 'norm'.  8-)  We went to Cheddar's for an early lunch first and I got some great Chicken Taco Soup and he got the Talapia and rice. For dessert we shared a Hot Apple Pie ala mode.  Yummy.  8-)  We followed all that food with a run out to see Nancy who was holding onto some lotion that she had given me last week during my beauty treatments (that I had forgotten to take with me).  This lotion smells absolutely yummy and since I liked it so much, she just gave it to me.  She is like that...what a sweetheart.  Once I had told her how much I liked a pair of earrings that she was wearing and the next thing I know, she bought me a pair that was very similar. We finished our shopping at WalMart and then Publix and now we are home ready to relax.

For Tom's birthday, he bought himself a game that was part of a series that he and BJ used to play together.  He had tried to download it but when he tried to install it, he kept getting errors and it wouldn't load.  He sent an email to the EA Company but never got a response.  He found someone to 'live' chat with today and they sent him to a different link to get the download manager.  He went there, followed all their directions and started the download while we were out shopping.  He found an actual disk copy of the game at Walmart so we bought that just in case the download didn't work.  Well, we got home and it had downloaded but there was a new set of errors that he was getting.  So, he tried to install the disk copy and got even different errors.  Now he is working on uninstalling the download copy and the download manager and then rebooting and running the tuneup utilities program to get any extraneous registry entries out and then he will try install fresh from the disk copy.  What a frustrating thing just to play a game.  Poor guy...he and BJ loved this game.  I hope this works for him.  He deserves some fun after all the months of care taking he has been doing.

A little Max for today...May we all experience the true blessedness that come from repentance!

"True Blessedness

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”  Matthew 5:4 NKJV

To mourn for your sins is a natural outflow of poverty of spirit. . . Many know they are wrong, yet they pretend they are right. As a result, they never taste the exquisite sorrow of repentance.

Of all the paths to joy, this one has to be the strangest. True blessedness, Jesus says, begins with deep sadness."

By Grace Alone -


Thursday, February 10, 2011

Applauding God!

Today was my follow-up with my doctor after chemo.  We drove into the appointment on solid sheets of ice on the road...yeah, that was a lot of fun.  A 30 minute trip took an hour and ten minutes.  But I got there.  Tom followed behind me to make sure I made it ok. 

I told my doctor about my swollen ankles and belly (which are fine at the beginning of the day but are bad at the end of the day).  My feet are frozen Popsicles by the end of the day because there doesn't seem to be any circulation in them.  I asked her if she thought it was my kidneys and she said nope...she thinks it is my heart.  So, she scheduled a MUGA scan for tomorrow.  "The MUGA scan (MUltiple Gated Acquisition scan) is a noninvasive test that produces a moving image of the heart. From this image, the health of the heart’s major pumping chamber (the left ventricle) can be assessed."  (Information taken from:  Apparently from what I am reading at that site, they should have been monitoring my heart with these scans all along during the chemo.  Hmmmm....things that make you go 'hmmm'.
I'll let you guys know this weekend how that went. (if they tell me...if they don't, I have a follow-up appointment on Monday)

Everything else is looking better.  My white count is still low but the rest of my blood work looked pretty decent.  I don't seem to be anemic but do seem to be deficient in B-12 and Folic Acid.  I just need to start taking some multi-vitamins again and that should start looking better.  Overall, a very successful health day.  8-)

Here is some Max feeding for you...what more could we want to know except that God is in Charge?  I don't need anything else to 'dizzy my brain' as Max puts it.   (Applauding God with all my heart!)  8-)

"God Is In Charge

“Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” Matthew 6:13 RSV 

“Thine is the Kingdom and the power and the glory forever.” What protection this . . . phrase affords. As you confess that God is in charge, you admit that you aren’t. As you proclaim that God has power, you admit that you don’t. And as you give God all the applause, there is none left to dizzy your brain."

By Grace Alone -


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Radiation Casting

Today I got 'fitted' with a cast for my radiation therapy.  I wish I had thought to bring my camera because it was a quite interesting process. 

The first thing they do is have you take everything off from the waist up, put on two gowns for modesty purposes and then go into the CT room and take it all off (Not sure why we even had to put on gowns since we never use them and just strip right in front of them anyway...).  You then have to sign two pieces of paperwork that says you are allowing them to do all the stuff they are about to do to you.  The next step is for them to take a 'before' picture of your face (Do they think you're going to change a lot during 7 weeks of treatment...they did that before chemo and I DID change a lot so it make me wonder...hmmm). 

So now they've got all the administrative stuff out of the way and they have me lay down on a table that has a bar vertically running at the top of your head.  (This will from this point forward be called the evil bar.)  This table slides into the CT scanner after they have you all set up.

Setting up is a process in itself.  The first thing you do is lay down on this crinkly plastic covered pillow looking thing and put your hands over your head and hold onto the evil bar.  Then they mold that pillow around your shoulders, arms, hands, and head by sucking the air out of it.  The pillow maintains your body shape and allows you to relax during radiation without having to worry about holding still.  The cast will definitely keep you from wiggling around.  To clarify why I call the bar hold onto that bar through the entire process and it makes your shoulders hurt and the cast cuts into your hands that are wrapped around the bar.  I just projected all the cause of my pain to that bar.  8-) 

After they have JUST the way they want you, they start marking crosses all over your sides and chest area.  Then they run you through a preliminary check of the CT scan to see if it captures what they want it to.   They roll you back out of the CT and made some adjustments to the way you are laying.  Then roll you back in to check again.  This process goes on until they have you laying perfectly to capture (whatever it is they capture) in the CT scan for real. 

The next (and the last) thing that they did was give me a permanent tattoo.  It is just one dot in the center of my chest that the radiologist will use each day to put me into the correct position for the radiation.  So, now I feel like a 60's love child with her first tattoo...HA. 

They also gave me some documentation that tells me basically that I'm going to be fatigued from the radiation and to rest when I need to and not overexert during the treatments.  Yadda yadda yadda.

On another note:  I found a flower on the plant from my father's funeral in July.  (YES...amazingly the thing is still alive...I never touch it...)

It's hard to see, but it is the white leaf and budding thing at the center bottom of the plant.  So...not only have I not killed the thing, it is insisting on thriving in spite of my inability to care for plants.  Go figure.

By Grace Alone -


Sunday, February 6, 2011

Lord, Please Make Me Teachable

Well, asked how the manicure and pedicure were...they were good...but the facial was amazing.  When I arrived my skin was dry and flaking and gray looking.  (Chemo patients  have the worst skin!) But...when I left, my skin was clear, moist, soft, and all pinked up.  It still looks great today.  Eminence is an amazing product.  I got samples from them for 2 dollars each and they sent me enough for 4 facials.  One of them was the Rosehip Maize Exfoliating Masque and the other one was the Raspberry Pore Refining Masque.  Both were designed for sensitive skin.  It is like having new skin.  Nancy and I had a good time laughing and joking about anything that came to mind.  So, I got this great Eminence facial for four dollars and had a lot of fun doing cool is that?  It is good to be around other people again.  8-)

After the beauty appointment, we did our Wal-Mart shopping, ate at Subway, and then we were going to get groceries but I didn't have an ounce of energy left so we went home and relaxed the rest of the day.   It was already about 3:00 by then and I'd been out and about since 9 that morning so I feel like I did pretty good for my first big venture out.  I have no idea how I'm going to make it through a full day of work...we'll see how that goes next Friday.  Not sure if I told you or not but I decided I wasn't ready to go in last Friday like I had originally planned.  I am sure now that it was a smart move.

Here is the Max for is interesting how the same words can affect different people in different ways.  We find ways to apply God's words into our lives as they stand today.  I could probably read this same scripture and Max offerings in a year and interpret them completely differently. 

"The Purpose In Our Pain

“Your faith makes you offer your lives as a sacrifice in serving God.” Philippians 2:17 
When we face struggles, we often wonder, Why? Years from now, though, we may realize that it was those struggles that taught us something we could not have otherwise learned—that there was a purpose in our pain. God’s purpose is greater than your pain, and he has a greater purpose than your problems."

I am glad if God is using my pain to teach me something that I would not have otherwise grasped.  8-)  That would definitely make it worthwhile.  (Lord, please make me teachable...)

By Grace Alone -