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Staying Busy

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A wise friend once told me the best way to avoid stress was to stay busy because then your mind doesn't have time to dwell on your problems. I guess she was right as it seems to be working for me and for Tommy.

It's been a while since I've added a blog. Since the last one, Tommy has had a biopsy (kind of) and a PET scan. When trying to do the biopsy, his lung began to collapse and the doctor had to stop, unsure of whether he even had enough tissue to test. As it turns out, they are still uncertain as to what the spots are in his lungs. They did not find any cancer in the biopsy (great news), but don't know that they had the tissue they really needed. He will have another scan next month to see if there are any changes in these nodules. If there are, he told his oncologist they can put him back on chemo if necessary, but he said he would never allow them to do another biopsy. He had to be awake through the 45 minute process because he had to hold his breath every time they moved the needle and said it was the most painful thing he's ever been through. So, now we just wait until the next scan. That has been our life for the last year; living from scan to scan. Worrying about the next results. Afraid to make too many plans for the future. The stress can be almost unbearable at times.

Three weeks ago one of my sons moved into his own place. Yippee!!! Not that I don't love him dearly, but I've really been wanting that bedroom for a place to put my computer desk and exercise equipment. Finally, here was my chance to clean the carpet, paint the walls and get it fixed up the way I wanted it. So, I blew the dust off my carpet cleaning machine, filled it with water and cleaning solution and went to work. A few hours later I stood back and looked at my clean, old, worn out carpet. Oh no, I expected it to look so much better. It was clean, but still showing its age. Maybe I should consider new carpet now? As I stood fussing in the bedroom doorway, Tommy came to see what was the matter. I happened to mention that the old hardwood floors under the carpet might even look better. Tommy's reaction was only, "Are you kidding me? Are there really hardwood floors under this carpet?" You see, he had no way of knowing this as I already had this house when we got married, so he'd never seen what was lying underneath the carpet. He ran into the room and started pulling the carpet up in the corner. Yep, underneath that carpet was old oak hardwood floors and, except for the heavy coat of varnish that had turned a lovely shade of orange, they were in pretty good shape. To make a long story short, my house is now a mess. The carpet has been ripped up from my living room and two bedrooms and the furniture from those rooms now line our back hall, and we won't even mention the impossible task of trying to make your way through my kitchen and dining room. The painting has begun in all the rooms, Tommy is busy pulling up carpet tack strips and filling small holes along the baseboards previously drilled for TV cables. He has already found someone who has given us a great price to come and sand all the floors and refinish them when we're ready.

Yep, everything is a huge mess, but I think this is the happiest I've seen Tommy since his cancer diagnosis in 2009. I guess that's because he's busy doing something he is excited about instead of sitting and worrying about that next scan. I guess I need to keep him busy with projects from now on (smaller ones of course).

Oh yes, there's only one problem. Thor (our doberman) apparently doesn't share our enthusiasm for hardwood floors. He actually stood there crying on the hard floor when Tommy first pulled the carpet up in living room. He's beginning to adjust, but only with the aid of his oversized cushion to lay on.

One more added bonus - I'm staying busy so it's much easier to not nibble on foods I don't need and I'm moving almost constantly, so this is actually helping me with my weight loss.

Now I'm up to get back to work.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 3/22/2011 7:49PM

    emoticon

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LEEPFROG95 2/21/2011 8:46PM

    great news thoughts and prayer with you and your hubby everyday...

miss you
M

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PENNYAN45 2/16/2011 11:38PM

    Keeping busy is great --- and having a home improvement project is terrific, because you get to enjoy the results.

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CARLA-216 2/13/2011 9:52AM

    Being busy physically keeps the mind off other things. I love that Tommy was so happy at the treasure of the hardwood floors hiding underneath the carpet! That is an exciting find (we had that happen to us in the first house we bought).

Thor will adjust with strategically placed doggy beds and rugs for his comfort. My Charlie adjusted like that when we had hardwoods installed in September 2009. When he came back home after the installation he was appalled! LOL

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EMPTYNESTER60 2/12/2011 10:16PM

    This brought back memories of my home in Florida. Shortly after we moved in I was disgusted with the nasty carpet in one of the bedrooms and couldn't talk my husband in to doing anything about it. I figured if I ripped it out we would have to replace it. While he was at work I ripped it out & was very pleasantly surprised to find hardwood floors underneath! Instead of being upset about what I did he finished taking up the carpet in the other rooms and we had really pretty wood floors once they were refinished. I wouldn't recommend this approach to anyone else, but it had a happy ending for us.

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LIZZYP609 2/12/2011 3:28PM

    This put a huge smile on my face! I did the exact same thing last winter. While we have yet to get our oak floors re done I am so happy we did it! My husband and both kids and I have a huge dust allergy and it just makes things so much easier to get rid of the carpet and to run a swiffer every couple of days!
Good to hear about the no cancer and will keep you all in my prayers!

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YOGIMARIE 2/12/2011 12:19PM

    You're absolutely right-staying busy is the best way to avoid stress-especially in this case. Having had cancer close to my life several times (my father and last year my stepfather)I know what you're going through!!!
Many hugs on the way to you both.
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Mari

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RAVON27 2/12/2011 11:35AM

    So glad you're both keeping busy. It also helps having something to look forward too. Sensing lots of happy thoughts your way.

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So Much Happening

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I've been away from SparkPeople for some time now. As a result, I've added back several pounds and just generally feel bad. I haven't been exercising like I once did and certainly haven't been watching what I've eaten. Now it's time to get myself back on track, again. I have more responsibilities right now than I've ever had in my life and I can't afford to get sick myself. So, I have to check back in here every day to keep track of my food intake and exercise. Time to get back to my hiking also for some regular exercise.

As for Tommy, things may have taken a turn for the worse. He had a CT scan on Monday and we went back to his doctor today to get the results. They have found several small spots on his lungs that they are concerned about. The largest is about 1/2 inch in size. They are now going to schedule him for a PET scan in a couple weeks, followed by a biopsy. They will try to go through his back and into his lung to try to get a small sample of this tissue to test. If this is metastatic pancreatic cancer, he will go back on chemo immediately. His doctor says that surgery is not really an option because there are several smaller spots also. I'm so afraid of what the results will be. Tommy appears to be very strong, but I know he must be afraid also. It's just so hard to believe anything could be wrong when he looks so good and says he feels good.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 3/22/2011 7:51PM

    My son, Nathan had Testicular Cancer with surgery & 4 rounds of chemotherapy two years ago. This is what we worry about but he continues to get his Cat Scans and blood tests which have come back "clean" up till now. I can so sympathize with you.

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DANCETAXI22 12/19/2010 1:48AM

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear your news! It is such a roller coaster with the emotions. Don't know what to say, and I just want you to know I am thinking about you.

D

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VIVRE5 12/15/2010 3:44PM

    keeping you in my thoughts. sending all of the healing wishes i can muster to you and Tommy.

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PENNYAN45 12/15/2010 1:28PM

    Welcome back! It is good to hear from you again.

I am sorry about the health issues that your husband is dealing with. I will pray for him - and for you.

It is good that you have returned to Spark to build yourself up. You will gain strength and stamina from your improved eating and exercising.

It will help you to deal with all those responsibilities that are falling onto you.

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MICHAELINNC84 12/14/2010 5:11PM

    Welcome back to spark people. emoticon

I am sure you can meet all your goals if you set your mind to them. I am also happy to have you back on the Appalachian Trail team.

I will pray for Tommy that God will look after him and take care of him. God bless you both.

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DOGSTARDADDY 12/10/2010 6:01PM

    Welcome back. Will be keeping Tommy in my thoughts.

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RAVON27 12/10/2010 1:27PM

    My heart and prayers go out to you both emoticon

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SWDESERTLOVER 12/10/2010 1:21PM

    Thank you all for your support. It means a lot.
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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 12/9/2010 11:29PM

    Cindy, I'm sending out all the best to Tommy and you. I am so impressed by your decision to get back on track so that you can be strong and face all your responsibilities. I know this is all so stressful, and I do think being more fit will give you a lift and help you face all the stresses coming your way. I did not have anything near as stressful going on when I stopped exercising regularly, but I know that not exercising added on another layer of unhappiness in my mind. Of course, that spirals into more bad, but once you can stop it and start working towards the healthier self, you wish you'd been doing it all along. You know you have lots of support here on SP, so I'm glad you're going to be checking in every day. That's one of the things that helped me get back on track.

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Take care of yourself, and you know we're here for you!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 12/9/2010 9:36PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about this - wow, what a stressful situation for both of you - my heart goes out to you and Tommy and I hope things turn out better than they seem right now. In the meantime, welcome back - I've been coming 'in and out' myself and not reacting too well to stress, yadayada - the same old excuses I've used 'forever' - hope you can get and STAY on track and hope for the same for myself!

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RONDARC 12/9/2010 8:50PM

    Cindy, I'm so sorry to hear about Tommy. You are both in my thoughts & prayers for good results from the biopsy. And glad you are back!!
Hugs,
Ronda emoticon

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Five Months Later

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

September 10, 2009 was the day a doctor walked into a consultation room and informed me and Tommyís sister that he had pancreatic cancer. He told us he probably had about six to twelve months left. The news was shocking and devastating. I couldnít imagine life without my husband.

I had been laid off from my job of fifteen years in May and then learned in July that Tommy was going to be laid off in October. We had thought things were about as bad as they could get, until the news of his pancreatic cancer. Hope was running out. Now, more than five months later, things are looking better for us.

Tommy will have his last radiation appointment today. After that he has a few more chemo treatments scheduled and then heíll be finished with his treatments. Heíll have another PET scan in a few months and weíre hopeful that it will be as positive as the last two heís had. Far from what I initially expected would be the situation by now, we went mountain hiking together Sunday at Pilot Mountain. The weather was beautiful and it was good to be back out. While we didnít hike all the way to the top, I was impressed with the distance we went before he decided to turn around. His determination is amazing and his positive outlook is contagious. We feel like we actually have hope now and are making plans for the future.

I also started a new job last Monday and am very excited about it. I am now a new magistrate for the county I live in and the job is so interesting. There is much to learn, but I feel so fortunate to have been selected for this position. Iím now working days, but move to second shift beginning next week and will eventually move to the third shift when my training is complete. Iím so excited about this because I love having my days free and can be available if Tommy needs me to go with him to appointments. This will also mean I can do early morning hikes avoiding the summer heat, so Iím really looking forward to spring to summer.

We are hopeful that 2010 will be a much better year for us than 2009.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CJROMB 11/5/2010 10:31PM

    I hope things are still going as well for you now as they were when you posted this. I've been thinking about you and Tommy alot recently for some reason.

Take care of yourself!

CJ

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THE_SILVER_OWL 2/23/2010 3:38PM

    My best wishes for Tommy's health to continue to improve and for better days ahead. It sounds like the "path" you are currently on is headed in a much better direction...
~JJ~

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PENNYAN45 2/23/2010 2:22PM

    This is good news! I am happy for you both -- and I wish you many good times together ahead!

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CHUPAL01 2/23/2010 1:34PM

    I'm so glad to hear that 2010 is turning out to be a better year for you so far! Blessings to you and your husband!

Ann emoticon

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RAVON27 2/23/2010 11:29AM

    I am so excited for you about your new job and really really happy to hear that Tommy is doing well. You deserve things to go your way and to be happy. Have an Awesome week emoticon emoticon

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LIZZYP609 2/23/2010 9:21AM

    So glad to hear how everything is looking up! I too hope things will be better for you in 2010!!
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DASSCHUS 2/23/2010 9:08AM

    WIshing you and your husband the very best. So happy to hear that things are turning around for the better for you both.

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LEEPFROG95 2/23/2010 8:09AM

    the path is a perfect picture for your blog ....
so much lies ahead of you both ...
have a great day
god bless you both
Mic
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A New Year, A New Outlook

Thursday, January 07, 2010

First of all, I hope everyone has a wonderful 2010. We have new hope with the new year.

Tommy had his second PET scan the end of December. The best news is that Dr. Shearer said she couldn't be more pleased. Everything looked good on it and still no evidence of any visible cancer. We were both so relieved and I think for the first time Tommy really feels like he has a shot at beating this. He is once again talking about the future and things he wants to do after he finishes his treatments.

He went to his radiation oncologist (Dr. Sears) two days ago and went through the simulation process where they set up the machine and computer and "tattooed" him where the radiation beam will be directed. He goes back to Dr. Sears on Jan 12th when she will double check everything to be sure that all is correct. If everything is good, he will begin his radiation treatments the next day. He will also be receiving chemo during this time. Our hope is that he handles this as well as he has the chemo over the past two months. He has never yet experienced any side effects, other than the expected low blood count.

Now that I'm back to eating healthy, I'm ready for the weather to give me a break so I can get back out hiking and biking. I don't mind cold temps, but below freezing is a little more than I can handle. For the meantime, I guess I just have to get on my treadmill (arghhh) and work off some calories.

Again, I hope everyone has a wonderful and very successful 2010! Thanks so much for all the support you've given over the past few months.

Cindy

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIFE_IS_SO_GOOD 2/8/2010 2:20PM

    I hope all is well and that Tommy gets stronger everyday!

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LIZZYP609 1/8/2010 7:45AM

    Love it!! Keep us updated with Tommy's progress! I know what you mean about the cold! I hate it! Usually I won't go out if it is below 40. Though here there is a place where you can rent skis for cross country skiing and I thought about trying it. I think I must be losing my mind!!!
Anyway, Happy New Year to you!!

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RAVON27 1/7/2010 8:54PM

    Great News! Thanks so much for sharing emoticon

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Getting Back to SP

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Whew! Since my last entry almost two months ago, so much has happened. I feel like I've been away from SP for even longer than the two months it has been. We've been so busy that my healthy eating lifestyle and exercise schedule has mostly vanished from my life. Now I've gained some weight back and I feel horrible, so I'm making time for myself from this day forward to get back on track and get in some hiking and other exercise.

Tommy and I continue to take one day at a time and work toward his recovery while spending quality time together also. The results of his PET scan was very good. Dr. Shearer (his oncologist) said that the only area that appeared brighter on the scan was the original surgical area. While she could not promise us that there was no cancer there, she feels that what it may have been showing was inflammation remaining from the whipple procedure. The best news was that there was no indication of the cancer having spread to any other areas of his body. With 2/3's of his lymph nodes removed having cancer cells in them, we were afraid the cancer had already spread, but this doesn't appear to be the case. I was very excited when I heard this, while Tommy was cautiously optimistic. He said he'd be more excited after the next PET scan if it still shows no spread. I think he's still thinking about the doctors' words of caution that pancreatic cancer tends to recur.

Tommy began his chemo treatments 5 weeks ago. He has his chemo once a week (Mondays) for three weeks and then has a week off to allow his body to recover and let his blood count build back up. Incredibly, he has had absolutely no side effects. Prior to them beginning, they gave us prescriptions to fill for nausea, which we did. As of today, he hasn't taken the first pill because he hasn't been sick. When he went back last Monday, he had even gained some weight (all that Thanksgiving food). He hasn't even lost any hair, at least not from the chemo :)
Everyone who sees him is amazed because he looks so healthy and says he feels better than he's felt in a long time.

He'll have another treatment tomorrow and then next Monday, then he'll have the week of Christmas off again. He'll then have another PET scan before resuming his chemo. He'll then also begin his radiation treatments. He'll go every day, Monday through Friday, for 5 1/2 weeks (28 treatments). We're hoping and praying that the results of his next PET scan are as positive as the last one.

With Tommy feeling so good, we've had plenty of time to enjoy ourselves. In the last month we've taken a trip to the mountains and a trip to Myrtle Beach and went to the race in Martinsville, VA (the picture is Tommy at the race). My sister and her husband (they live in Florida) also came up to stay with us over Thanksgiving. It was so nice to just have fun and get our minds off of his illness. He is much more upbeat now than he was a couple of months ago and now believes he has a chance to be cured. I just try to continue to support him and keep him feeling positive.

Now we're looking forward to Christmas and spending time with family and friends. We also continue to make our plans for the future because I intend to have him around for a very long time.

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CJROMB 12/27/2009 11:39PM

    I was sooo happy to see your blog here!! I've been thinking about you, and came over to see if you'd posted, and you HAD!

I'm so glad Tommy is handling his health issues so well. You two are amazing.

Don't worry about the weight. You know what to do, and you'll get it done. I believe in you.

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RONDARC 12/11/2009 4:54PM

    That is such wonderful news!! Sounds like you're both doing well. Good picture of Tommy, he looks happy. emoticon

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RAVON27 12/9/2009 12:22PM

    I am so glad to hear that Tommy is doing better. I'm so glad that you are spending lots of time together. And finally I'm really happy that you are also starting to take care of yourself. Hope you have a Happy Holiday Season without thoughts of illness. My thoughts and prayers are with you always emoticon

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HEALTHY_CAROLYN 12/8/2009 11:08AM

    Cindy, reading this brought tears of joy to my eyes. I'm so glad to read things are going so well. It's so wonderful that Tommy's treatments have not been rough on him physically. Then, to have his scans coming back with so much positive news is definitely a blessing.

As to getting back on track with your own health goals, I know you can do it!



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LEEPFROG95 12/7/2009 7:33AM

    great to know you are taking care of the important things family is always first...
hope you have a great day.
mic


Comment edited on: 12/7/2009 7:39:20 AM

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SHEILA1505 12/7/2009 5:17AM

    I was led into these blogs by my SP friend Heilas
It is good to see that you are both so much more positive two months on and I salute you for being able to write so vividly about your range of emotions and fears.
I wept throughout your previous Blog as it brought everything flooding back even after nearly 15 years of my DH's very brief but brave struggle for life. There could never be enough time but we talked laughed cried and loved throughout and really that is all we could ask.
I wish you strength and all the love you can share

Best wishes
Sheila

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MISSAROSA1 12/6/2009 10:16PM

  I too, have been away for a long time because of personal issues. But I am going to get back on track also! God Bless you all on your journey and I will be praying for you and your family! Happy Holidays to you and yours! emoticon

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