Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A 3 day nose bleed is NOT good!

So already this week we have learned that it is not good if you are having a nose bleed that lasts for 3 days. Yesterday, mom finally decided to call the doctor to inquire if this was normal. Of course, it is not. They sent her to have lab work done and found out that her blood platelets were way too low. She was asked to go to Huntsman first thing this morning for a blood transfusion. When Bentley and I arrived she wasn't quite hooked up yet. Her levels had improved some but not enough to feel like they didn't need to give the platelets. So, after some time she did finally receive a bag. Now, call me crazy but I always thought blood was red. Apparently not if you are getting just platelets. Platelets are a lovely butter cream color (just FYI). Oh there is so much to learn! Anyway, soon after moms nose bleed did stop and she regained strength and energy that she has not had the last few days.

Moms next Chemo day is next Tuesday. They are most likely going to ease up on one of the treatments. The doctor thinks it might be the cause of her drastic drop in blood levels. We'll have to see what they decide to do then. So for now mom's back on track to feeling well this week. She is trying to get things done before she is laid up after this next treatment. She again commented to me today of all the people that have sent cards and messages, emails of phone calls. It is so surprising to her how many friends, old and new, that have reached out to her. It truly keeps her going. Thank you!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chemo Day #1

For those of you who have spent time with mom have probably heard her say this, "What's our favorite word?...DONE!" That is exactly how mom felt yesterday after completing her first day of Chemo therapy. I have to admit it feels good to her family as well.

Mom started the day early with her first doctors appointment at 8:00 a.m. She had 3 other appointments before she entered the infusion room at 9:30. The infusion room is just that, a larger room with chairs all lined up with people sitting, hooked-up, having their chemo treatments. Everyone I saw was bald except for mom. Her hair looked especially pretty. One lady commented to mom how pretty her hair was and to enjoy it for now. Mom was gracious and smiled. She heard people talk about there stories to each other. I guess that's what you do. One nurse told her that she would get used to this room and that she would make friends there too. She noticed some people looking really sick and that was hard. I think we were both surprised to see smiles on there faces while they looked at mom. It was almost like they were saying to her, "you'll be okay." Of course they know the route she is going down.

Mom left Huntsman around 4:00 and dad took her home. She had developed quite a headache in the hospital during infusion but other than that she was feeling fine. They stopped for a light dinner and then spent the evening working around the house on various things.

This morning, the day after, I talked to mom and she seems surprisingly great. What a blessing it is that she is not sick. She is positive and happy and enjoying any moment that she feels good. She anticipates that she won't always feel this way, but hopes that it is well down the road.

Thanks again for all your kind messages, phone calls and prayers you have offered on our moms behalf. She is often tender when she talks about family and friends. We know how much everyone loves her.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The {Pink} Mailbox

I knew when I saw it at our Young Women's Garage Sale in early March that it might come in handy someday. I thought, "Oh this will make the best Valentine's mailbox or something like that." About a week later after finding out that my Mom had cancer--I knew it just had to be done. Drumroll please...

Introducing: THE {PINK} MAILBOX!

{Mom with her pink mailbox, and her super cute cancer bracelet from a dear friend of mine. You might need to press on the picture to see the detail it's so cute. Thank you, Melissa!}

Yes. It really is pink. Yes, I really did spray paint it this glorious color. And yes, I had neighbors ask about it while I was doing so. (we have community mailboxes here in AZ--"What on earth are you doing with that thing?")

From here on out, this is where thoughts, letters, words of encouragement, little notes, etc. will be put when she gets them (I gave my Dad strict instructions...see below)

I said, "You have TWO very important jobs during this thing:

#1: Mom's mail goes directly from the post office to the pink mailbox. That way when she's feeling up to checking inside, there will be something there for her!"

**hopefully** {that's where all of you come in}

#2: "After she's read the mail, you put it into Mom's Pink Book. Easy as that. That way she'll be able to keep a record of all the notes and words of encouragment she gets along the way."

Dad was total game for it and agreed to do so. It was so much fun to see him the next day come home and put her mail right inside. Way to go, Dad!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

PLEASE, at any time, whenever you get an idea or a thought or a prompting to send a little love her way--think about the pink mailbox and how much joy it will bring to her.

Here's her address:

Gayle Wilson
PO Box 987
Midway, Utah

The Many Faces of Mom

I went up to visit Mom in Utah the week of her first surgery. It was so good to see her--to hug her--really hug her. I broke into tears the second I saw her. I told her I'd be wearing pink. I did.

I love this dear woman so much.

It's killing me that I live hundreds of miles away in Arizona and can't be there to support her with a lot of what she'll be experiencing these next few months. Good thing we've already made it a tradition to go to Utah for several weeks in the summer. The excuse has always been because of the AZ heat, but everyone knows it's really because I can't live without Midway...and my Mom.

I took some pictures of her while I was there. She humored me and wore pink. We laughed, we cried...and died laughing...especially when I told her to show me the great gap between her teeth that I love.

Here are some of the many faces of our Mom.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Official Game Plan

We are happy to report that mom has an official plan on how things will proceed from here. Of course all of this is subject to change at any moment, but for now it is nice to know a time frame of where she is heading. Mom met with her oncologist today. Dr. Buys and her team did a fabulous job explaining all the happenings around her treatment. Dad, Bentley and I were all there to be briefed on the plan as well. Mom will begin chemotherapy on Tuesday, April 13 and have her doses every 3 weeks for 6 rounds. This will take her probably until August to complete this portion of her treatment. After chemotherapy she will rest for a few weeks and then she will start radiation which will continue for 6 more weeks. We were excited to learn that the chemo medicines she will have do not tend to cause as much nausea as others medicines. They do however have other side effects of which one will be hair loss. She of course has been preparing for this and so it was not unexpected. Fatigue will be probably one of the biggest side effect that she will have to deal with. The chemotherapy days will be long, probably at least 5 hours spent at the hospital for one appointment. We are getting together a few hand projects and some good books to help pass the time. I think she is anxious to get things started and still grateful that she likes the team that is handling her case.

This next week she will have a few other appointments to have an Echo cardiogram, a PET scan and a follow-up exam from the 2nd lumpectomy she had this last Monday. All of these procedure need to take place before they start the chemotherapy which is why it has been delayed a until the 13th. The Echo cardiogram will help set a base line for her heart as one of the chemotherapy's has a side effect of causing heart issues. The PET scan is an entire body scan to look for the spread of cancer.

So with the realization that mom was indeed going to lose her hair we decided that after her appointment, that mom and I would pay a visit to one of the several Wig shops located on 33rd South. I have never noticed it before but like 300 West in Salt Lake is called Tile Mile, mom and I have officially named 33rd South as Wig Way. Seriously, notice next time you drive it. There are many wig shops. It was tough to decide which one we should go to but we had several recommendations that pointed to Creative Wigs and so that's where we went. I was fine to go to any of them except for the one titled Pattie's Wig Wam. I think the name just wasn't sitting well with me. Anyway, mom was tentative a little at first. But she got into it and tried several on. We emailed several pictures to Katie to help make the final vote. Basically, her new Raquel Welch wig looks just like her natural hair cut and color. I couldn't convince her to do anything different. It looks absolutely adorable and seriously you almost can't even tell. We did however do a little experiment tonight at the house to see if anyone noticed that she had it on. Will her little 4 year old grandson noticed right off and told her that her hair looked a "little messy." She laughed and loved it when others didn't notice right off. Dad of course made her feel the best when he said that we did a "super job" finding one that fit her style so well.