Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Good News

I am considering many options for the continuation of my blog. I do so appreciate your patience. There are many good developments in my health of late. My red blood has taken a miraculous turn for the better and now resides at a nice healthy 12! It's hard for me to think of it as anything but a miracle because the two days before I had it tested I was sleeping much of the day because I was so weak. That's why I went to the doctor to have it tested. Day two of my bout with weariness caused me to reach out to several of my praying friends. I even felt inspired to contact Ruth and Michael Reid. The next day, I was feeling better but didn't realize that the nurse would be coming out to report that I was a 12. A 10 was what I had heard most people in my situation hover at, but mine had gone so low (down to 7.9!) that I thought I'd have to be okay with a 9. But I am blessed with a 12!

I am still unable to stop taking the nausea medication, however. I believe it is due to the number of pills I am still taking on a daily basis. With the medication, I am able to eat though I do not have much of an least not until evenings when I sometimes get ferocious hunger pangs and eat whatever healthy foods I can get my hands on. Breakfast and lunch are another story, as I often have no idea what to eat since nothing sounds good at all. I am now wearing a size 8 in jeans! I've been skinnier before, but this has been effortless. That is, of course, because I do no feel all that hungry most of the time. Believe it or not, I actually look forward to feeling hungry (not overly so, of course) again.

I am in a course with a favorite professor of mine at UTD, but am reconsidering some aspects of my studies. I have come to a place in my life when I am unwilling to do anything of major importance that does not completely fit with my professional interests. It's a good thing, but I am being cautious. Who knows how much more I will change in my feelings about my Ph.D. work as I make progress toward health?

I am now receiving teacher disability retirement. My first check came the first of October. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about that, but it has been, for the most part, a positive experience. I feel that I am contributing at least some of what I could be making if I were able to teach. Until I've gotten my immunizations and more teaching work lined up, I'm going to collect this small pension.

I know that I need to find a creative outlet. So I am considering many options...most of which involve this website...but renamed. I'm thinking I'll just take the cancer out of the title and call it Sherry's Cookies. That way my faithful friends and supporters who keep coming to my blog in hopes of reading about what is going on with me can still find me fairly easily.

Thank you for your prayers concerning the persistent nausea and a little bit of stuff coming up concerning my liver (which may be causing the nausea).

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Moving On

Sorry that I haven't checked in to write my blog for so many days. Everything is fine, I'm just considering renaming my as to move on from cancer. My treatment is done. I'm in remission. I'm in an independent study that takes up much of my extra time. All of these things are good.

Please be patient while I reconsider a name for my blog that does not have anything to do with cancer, but has everything to do with life and living it.

I know I am where I am because of God and for God's grace I am so very very thankful.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Quick Trip to Houston

As promised, I am returning to Houston for a quick check up with my doctor at MD Anderson. We're staying at Springhill Suites because the Rotary is full. But that is fine. The main reason the Rotary is better concerns parking. If you stay at the Rotary, parking is free. Whatever the case, I am glad to be getting this last appointment in because I will not have to return again for a while.

Thursday, I'll start seeing my local oncologist who will be responsible for checking my blood and making sure I stay on track with my recovery. I am supposed to start tapering off of Cyclosporine as of this appointment.

Jacob was off to his first day of school today. I drove him to the school, and he seemed excited. I'll be be here this afternoon to pick him up, of course, then his dad will get him from home. He has Boy Scouts tonight, so his dad will get him there and back again. He'll stay with his dad tonight.

We should return by tomorrow evening.

Thankfully, I have a book on tape that Kirk and I have been listening to. This helps pass the five hours of driving to Houston.

Today, I'm just packing and doing laundry until Kirk and Jacob come home. Then, Kirk and I will be leaving for Houston.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

An Entire Week (Almost) Has Passed

There were lots of things to do this week. Mainly, unpacking and getting Jacob ready for school. There is, as you can imagine, a lot of things that have been left undone over the summer that I've needed to do. I still find time in the mornings to drink coffee on the back porch when it is not so hot. And it has been hot. Especially after 12PM until about 7PM. Then it cools off again.

Even as I'm writing this, Jacob is in his room organizing and sorting. It is not so big a project because he was not here all that much over the summer. Boy Scouts starts back up on Monday, and then the Court of Honor the next Monday.

I have a wig to return, as well as some reimbursements to make. These things have not been forgotten.

My only complaint is I am tired at unexpected times. It may be low hemoglobin or just getting used to moving around a lot more. Whatever the case, I am asking for continued prayer concerning my counts. My red blood needs to be at around 10.

We return for one final check up on Tuesday in Houston. I'm sure I'll see what my counts are at that time. Meanwhile, I continue to eat...fresh fruits and veggies even...making sure I get lots of iron.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


It looked as if there might be flooding in the area of Houston where the apartment is, so Kirk and I decided to come home to Dallas now. It was a good decision. Tuesday, we'll return so I can have my catheter removed at MDA. Hurricane Dean is heading much further south, so there's no reason we can't keep that appointment.

The weather here in Dallas is beautiful, though balmy. Vastly different, however, from the balminess that I associate with Houston. In Dallas, there is a nice breeze and temps stay in the 70's all morning. Making for a nice cup of coffee on the back porch anytime before 1PM.

The cat and dog were so relieved to see me. On Saturday, the doorbell rang and there was a man standing there with a huge candy bouquet from my mom, Lisa and Randy. There was a teapot vase that looked like something Mary Engelbright would design. I immediately ate one of the chocolates. It was such a thoughtful gift.

Joe, Jen, Zenny and Jordan (who is talking up a storm) came over for a quick visit, then Kirk, Jacob and I went to look at washers and dryers at the Sears outlet. Our washer dumps rust stains (and even bleach) unexpectedly on most anything I wash sometimes. Kirk took it apart months ago to see if he could clean it up and fix it, but it continues. So we're seeing what we can afford to do, right now.

I'm about to take Jacob for a haircut. Jacob's trip to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back was difficult, but a great accomplishment (he agrees.) It was probably harder than he and his dad imagined it would be, but nonetheless they are glad they did it. On the way, they had the chance to visit relatives in New Mexico, as well. Jacob had never met his cousins on his dad's side (not since he was three years old!) so it was a good trip all around.

I feel very blessed to be home, have hair and my family all around me.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Plans for This Week

Since I am returning home to Frisco next Wednesday, this week will constitute my last relatively alone days in Houston at this apartment. I have a friend who lives close by that I'll be visiting one last time on Wednesday and Thursday. And, of course, I will go into the clinic on Tuesday and Friday. Kirk flies into Houston on Thursday. That way we can drive back to together in one car next Wednesday.

Today is the only day I haven't something specific to do, but there is still plenty to accomplish in the way of housekeeping, reading for my Fall class and finishing paperwork for various things.

Jacob and his dad have made it as far home from the Grand Canyon as Amarillo. They'll be home in Frisco today. They had a great trip down to the Canyon floor and back in three days. It was hard work, but worth it according to the last report I'd heard from them. They made a stop on the way to Amarillo, I hear, to look at Meteor Crater.

When he's been here, Kirk has slowly been taking things from the apartment back home. So there may be only clothes and remaining food to pack over the weekend. That will make it easier to load up the car and get on home once I'm officially released on Tuesday the 21st.

Can't wait to be home with my family and my dog and cat. Even it it is over 100 degrees these days in Frisco, at least it's dry heat.

As for me, I feel good these days. My only complaint is that I've had migraines at night these past two nights. Even that feels like my system is trying to return to normal, as hormones are usually to blame for those headaches. Otherwise my appetite, energy and general health have been very good. It is a very hot moldy situation outdoors these past few days in Houston, so I'm going to see if staying indoors today helps any with ending the migraine cycle. There is a lot of grass being cut preparation, I suppose, for the rains that are headed this way tomorrow. Grass and a barometer shift have the ability to give me quite the headache as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Marking Time

God-willing, I'll be home by August 22nd or 23rd. I'll need to return to MD Anderson the next Tuesday for a follow-up appointment with my doctor, who is going to be out of town for two weeks, but that is okay. Being home is all that matters, and that is what my doctors feel I'll be ready to do by the 23rd.

So Kirk will drive down from Frisco alone one last time (and back again, of course) on Thursday and stay through Sunday. Then we'll be apart only Monday through Thursday (possibly Friday,) then Kirk will fly into Houston. In this way when I leave on Tuesday August 22nd or early Wednesday, we can travel together in one car back to Frisco. No more lonely rides to and from Frisco for Kirk.

Meanwhile, I'm marking time. Today, I spent much of the day watching an A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, which was quite fun. Julie very kindly has made these CD's available to me, so I decided while I was reading the book to indulge and see what a version more faithful to the text might do for Austen's story. I recommend it. Collin Frith played Mr. Darcy, and he was quite good in The Girl With the Pear Earring (as Vermeer,) so I am now much more impressed with with his acting abilities considering his range.

Lately I have also troubled myself with a translation of a poem from Russian by Karolina Pavlova, a nineteenth century poet. The translation is part of my efforts to prove proficiency (and I stress the word) in Russian for my Ph.D. and began with a recommendation from one of my favorite professors at UTD. He suggested I try my hand at not only translating the poem, but making the English version have the same iambic pentameter rhythms and ABA rhyme scheme. I may only be able to accomplish a literal translation. I have had some luck with the first stanza, but it sounds more stilted than I would like.

Aside from that, when it is still relatively cool in the mornings and late evenings, I go out on my bike or for a walk to the mail box or around the lake. Otherwise, days are a bit bleak. For I do miss everything that my life had to offer me in Frisco (as you can imagine.)

Jacob and his dad are now at the Grand Canyon, and I hear reports almost daily from Jacob about their exploits. I may not hear from him, however, for the next few days, since they will be at the bottom of the Grand Canyon staying at Phantom Ranch. I suppose it is possible that they will have reception on their cell phones or that they will find a suitable phone to make a call, but I'm uncertain. Then, it will take them two days to hike out of the Canyon. The first night after Phantom Ranch they will stay at Indian Gardens, which is about 5.5 miles beneath the rim. They are going into the Canyon by Kabab Trail and out by Bright Angel Trail. I am so proud of Jacob for accomplishing this at just the age of 14.

On their way to the Canyon, they hooked up with Vernon's eldest sister, her husband (Julie, my caregiver's uncle) and the two remaining live-in sons, Danny and Bobby. The last time I saw them Bobby must have been 7! I heard that there was lots of visiting and fun to be had there. Bobby is now 18!

Next on their way to the Canyon, they went hiking with Lisa, her husband, Randy and mom in Bandalier. Both stayed at mom's house for two nights (I believe.) All of that I heard also went well, and much fun was to be had by everyone involved. I am told they crammed in every possible tourist attraction under mom's guidance while in Santa Fe and the surrounding areas.

One last thing, I heard from a friend I had lost touch with five years ago. She and her family are from Canada, but had been living in Frisco. They have been renting their home in Frisco for the last 5 years, since they had to return to Canada. I think in the move from the apartments we were living in I lost her contact information, though I've been searching online for her and her family for almost 2 years. Sharon called the house in Frisco just this week and Kirk was able to give me her number. We talked last night, and it was really great catching up with my old friend.