Tuesday, December 24, 2013

December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas everyone.

As I was laying in bed last night I couldn't help but think about the Bible verse that says something in effect to "in all things, give Thanks (Praise)".  I just couldn't stop thinking about that have to share.

This blog will not be my typical "cancer" blog but please bear with me.

I was laying there and wondering how in the world I could give thanks for this year.   It has been pretty rough personally the past 7 months.

May 19, 2013 - A tornado hit Little Axe, OK and damaged my granddaughter's house (not bad but that was the start).

May 20, 2013 - A large tornado hit Moore, OK and practically destroyed it.   I didn't know anyone personally but it is near where my kids and grandkids live.

May 20, 2013 - My beloved aunt, Shirley Rush, made her final trip home, very unexpectedly.   What a terrible call to receive but also what a wonderful homegoing it had to be for her.   Reunited with the Lord and all her loved ones, especially the love of her life, O C Rush who had gone before her a couple of years before.

May 25, 2013 - We arrived in Oklahoma for my aunt's memorial and received the phone call that no one wants to receive.   My mother, Anna Majors, had made that same trip home.   Talk about a double whammy.  I fully believe that she just could not face life without her baby sister who had left her just 5 days before.  Of course, I am sure they had just a wonderful reunion in heaven.   And I am sure my 23 year old special needs granddaughter, Katie Horn, who had gone on 3 years ago was standing there in her healthy heavenly body waving her arms over her head and yelling, "Hi Gommie.   Come on it.   It is wonderful here". 

All in all a few tough days.  After laying these two wonderful women to rest beside their spouses we made the long trip back to Tennessee.

I thought this was the worst time of my life.   How could I praise the Lord in this?  Well, neither of them suffered.  My aunt was out with friends and excused herself to the powder room.  She did not come back.   No time for her to linger and suffer.    That was certainly a praise.

When I received the call about Mom, what could I say.   I had just talked to her a couple of days before and she sounded so strong and in control even after losing her baby sister.  Only 2 days later she was gone and did not suffer.   That's a praise.

Either of these ladies could have lingered and suffered for days, weeks or even years.  What a wonderful way to go home. 

Because I have had some physical problems with my collar bone for almost 2 years I had a flair up with it on the emergency trip home.   I did not have my motor home that we live in that is pretty perfect for me (high toilet and a high bed so very handicapped accessible for me, even have a 6x6 deck to make it easier to get in and out).  Since trip was unexpected we were not able to secure handicapped motel accommodations on the trip.  We stayed with family 2 nights but they are not set up for my special needs either.  So by the time I got back I was having a big flair up of the worse kind.

I went to physical therapy and my doctor.  They said since I had swollen lymph nodes that I needed to see a colon doctor.  After a colonoscopy that came back clear, nothing else was said about it so that's a big Praise.

But my physical therapist, Heather, was not satisfied.  She felt that I needed to see a specialist about the collar bone since it kept happening.  She found me a doctor, Dr. Edwin Spencer, Jr., in Knoxville and I was able to get in within the month.   That's a praise.

August 16,  2013 - Dr. Spencer diagnosed me with cancer!    What a dock in the teeth!   How can you praise the Lord with a diagnosis like that.    My first thought was that I was thankful that my mother was not here to have to hear that diagnosis.   Praise the Lord.  Of course, my next thought was "I want my mommy".  But the prevailing thought was that I was glad she did not have to go through with me.   She had cancer years ago and so did her sister.   They had suffered enough with going through it personally and had survived it for years.  

My doctor made me an appointment with an oncologist for 3 weeks.   I just couldn't wait that long.  I would have been a basket case.   So I got on the computer and found my own doctor who got me in for my first visit in 4 days.    PRAISE THE LORD.

After intensive tests, biopisies and CT scans, Dr. David Aljadir, at University of Tennessee, found I had not only one kind of cancer, but two.   Where's the praise in that?   Well, the biggest involvement of cancer is bone cancer called multiple myeloma.   But the surprise is that I also have lung cancer!   Where's the praise?

Well, the praise is that the lung cancer was caught very, very early and only because of the collarbone problem.   For those who have followed my blog you know that things have moved along quite quickly.  I have had treatment on the lung cancer and they think that it should be completely gone when I have my next CT scan on it in early February.  PRAISE THE LORD FOR THAT!!!

We came come to Oklahoma for treatment of the multiple myeloma.  This is where our family is.  PRAISE THE LORD that I am blessed with wonderful family and that most of them are here in the Oklahoma City area.  Lots of support at a time when we needed it. 

A beautiful daughter, Tammy Horn, and her family including her husband Mark, and a grown son, Mitch Horn, and his family, Stacy, Jordan, Trentyn and Ashlyn.   Daughter, Grandchildren and greatgrandchildren wonderful.  PRAISE THE LORD

A handsome son, Paul Clark, and his wife Amy.  A grown daughter, Mallory Clark, and her family Colby Cox, and children Jordyn and Karman.   Also a grown son, River, and an almost grown daughter Cassidy (a senior in high school this year).   My daughter-in-law Amy is so supportive since son Paul works away from home.  That's wonderful to have such support.   ANOTHER PRAISE!

Another son, Conley Clark, and his sweetheart April are only about an hour away.  I am so blessed.   ANOTHER PRAISE.

Finally, we have one more son and his family only about 3 hours away.   Robert Clark, our youngest), his wife Julie and their three sons.   One son is grown, Josh Slater and lives about 2 hours from here.  The two youngest boys are still in school, Glen Clark, is 13 and Tyler Clark is 11.  Another wonderful, supportive family even though they cannot always get away at the time they would like due to his work.  PRAISE THE LORD Again.

Three wonderful sons and a beautiful daughter.  
Also have brother, Gary Majors, and his wife Colleen, and their 3 grown children, Carrie Jones and husband Dave, and her son Zach; Rebecca and her daughter _____ and son Gary, Jr. and his sons Christian and  and sister, Stacy Turner, and her husband Ken and her children Chelsie, Canon, Caydon and  Katelyn all here close (within about 2 or 3 hours).   Well, Chelsie and her family have moved to Colorado for his work. They have three beautiful children.   But the rest are all within 2 or 3 hours of here.  Another Praise.

I also have a brother, Steve Majors, who lives in Ecuador.   A long way away but Skype makes his so close.   We are collaborating on a project of his so I talk with him almost every day.   That is more often than I did when he was in Nevada.   Another PRAISE.

OK.  So you see, I have much to be giving the Lord praise about.  Now for the update on this crazy disease.

I have now had 3 chemo treatments and no side effects.   My chemo is given in a shot, a simple injection into my arm or stomach.  A cycle is 21 days.   I receive 4 injections in two weeks, 4 days apart.  Then one week off with no treatments.   I take 40mg of steroids on days 1 thru 4 and days 8 thru 12.   That's it.  Cycle 1 will be complete when I see the doctor on January 2.   We will see how the cancer is responding to the treatment then.  Absolutely no side effects.   PRAISE the LORD.

I have been told to take Meletonin for sleep (prescribed by the doctor).   That was not the thing to do.   I have been out of it for three days and I only took the medicine 2 nights.   I was fuzzy headed, blurry eyed and had stopped up ears.  Totally not good.  But I have that medicine out of my system now and I feel great.    PRAISE THE LORD.

To each of you who have read my blog for the past few months I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a very prosperous new year.  We are spending Christmas Day with our daughter and the following day with our son Paul.   Don't know if we will see the other two because of their other family obligations. 

PRAISE THE LORD for all he has done for us this year.   It draws me closer to Him daily. 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Jesus.  Thank you for coming to earth as a baby to live among us as a man.  But most of all, thank you for dying for my sins.   Although I do not feel worthy, I am so glad that you consider me worth.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Finally new information

Hello everyone!

I know it has been a long time since I wrote anything but there has been nothing to report.  But there is now, finally.

After fighting for weeks with the insurance I finally have coverage and my treatment could proceed.  Although I was supposed to have coverage starting Nov 1 the insurance (Blue Cross/Blue Shield) did not get me in their system until Dec 1.   (But they got their premium, but that's a different story).  Big push for me was my doctor was leaving Dec 4 until Dec 26 (out of the country).  She needed to write orders but didn't want to do it until insurance approved treatment or I would have to pay all of it.

So, finally, yesterday I had my first chemo treatment.  I was told I would see a pharmacist, learn about chemo and it's side effects and get my first shot.   I guess I was na├»ve but I expected to be in a room, like an exam room.   Instead they took me into the chemo area.    For those of you who have never been there (and I had not) let me explain.   At Stephenson Cancer Center at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences complex it is a very, very large area.  It is then divided into sections with 8 places for patients, complete with nice recliners and an IV pole for everyone.  You can have one visitor with you.  A nurse is assigned to you for the day and she also has other patients.  

When we walked in there were 2 other patients.  One lady appeared to be pretty ill.   We did not visit with her.  The other lady was a younger woman.   I just started crying.  Could not hold back the tears.   It really hit me.   I have cancer.   Yes, I have been blogging for months about this and I thought that I had really gotten a hold on it and my emotions.   But there is something about walking into the Chemo room that really got to me.   It took almost 30 minutes for me to get it together.  But then I was OK and started visiting with the younger woman, who was near me. 

She is 44 year mother of a 3 year old.  She has cancer that has spread to her liver and has already had surgery but still has tumors.  She will have chemo for the rest of her life.   Then a 35 year old mother of two, ages 3 years and 6 months, has brain cancer.   They are both very upbeat and it was encouraging to me. 

Just before I left a man probably in his 60's spoke up and told me he was getting the same chemo medicine for the same type of cancer that I have.  He is on his 3rd cycle and said he has had no side effects.  That was also encouraging.   

I was feeling a little dizzy when I left and a little light headed but thought it was because I had not eaten lunch.  We went to Golden Corral to eat.  By the time we got home I had a touch of a headache which got worse as the night progressed.  I went to bed about 9 and watched some TV propped up on two pillows.

I took one benedryl and one over the counter Iubeprophen to help me sleep.   When I got ready to go to sleep and took the extra pillow out I got so dizzy.   Couldn't close my eyes because my head was spinning.   Couldn't keep my eyes open because the room was spinning.  I was also very hot.   Had Keith get me a cold washcloth and put it on top of my head.   Guess that was the 'flushing' side effect.  I put the extra pillow back and finally got to sleep.   Then woke up when Keith came to bed and moved down to the other pillow in small steps.  I was able to go to sleep and no dizziness.  Got up about 4 this morning feeling fine.

I am sure I will have to take a nap sometime today.

I have increased uric acid levels so they put me on Allopurinol.   I took one last night when we got home and another this morning.   I have to go have another blood test about noon.   If the levels are dropping then I just have to finish taking them for 10 days.   Otherwise they will give me an IV dose this afternoon after they get my blood results.

Thursday I have an appointment with a Neurologist.  This is to evaluate the pain that I have as a result from post polio and the bulging disks in my low back, neither of which is related to the cancer but they don't want to not address the pain.  Maybe he can give me something for the arthritis because I know what that is.

Thursday afternoon, after that appointment, I have chemo again.  Chemo again on Dec 23 and Dec 26.  Then I have no chemo the following week.

A cycle of this chemo is 21 days.   Day 1 and day 4 I have chemo, day 9 and 12 I have chemo.   Then no chemo for the rest of that 21 days.   Then the next cycle starts.

My next appointment with my doctor has been moved to January 2.  Every time I get chemo or see a doctor they will draw blood.   Guess I have to get over my hatred of needles, huh.   If I was getting my chemo through an IV I would have a port and they would draw blood from there.   However, I just get a shot.   But I am good with that.

At some point I will get a port just before I have my bone marrow transplant.   My granddaughter, Cassidy, graduates in May and we are hoping to have me able to go to the graduation.   I have to talk with my doctor about this when I see her in January.   Maybe I can get back to work before a full year. 

I have been hired at H&R Block for the tax season here in Midwest City.   It is only 3 miles from home and they will work with me on my schedule to accommodate doctor visits and chemo.   Of course, if they schedule the transplant before April 15 I will have to quit but I have told the manager about it and they are understanding about it.

We had Thanksgiving 3 days in a row.   First was with our son, Paul's, family.   Full dinner.  Daughter in law is good cook and her mother and brother were there.   Friday we were at daughter Tammy's.  Again full dinner and as usual it was delicious.  She is also a good cook.  Saturday we had all our kids at Tammy's house.   We had soup and pizza.  It was really nice.   All of the kids were there except our son Robert who lives in Texas and was unable to attend.   We took lots of pictures and did a lot of visiting.

That's about it.  More later.  I have to eat breakfast so I can take my 10 steroid pills.   Always something.