My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009 aka My First Christmas In 16 Years Without TJ

TJ and I quit exchanging Christmas presents years ago so my Christmas morning started out quite normal....with the dogs opening their Christmas presents.

I then went to a friend's home for a wonderful prime rib Christmas dinner. The food was great but the conversation among friends was even better.
Even my friend's dog, Tank, found the treats to be almost irresistible. He is a very well behaved guy so he managed to restrain himself.
Poor little Skeeter, unlike Tank, has to be picked up to get a sneak peek at the fantastic food. I really think he is asking for just a little bite in this picture.

All in all it was a great day and really made me feel blessed to have such wonderful and caring friends. Another "first" behind me and without much struggle at all. Having said that though, I really missed TJ on Christmas and all day long I had memories of the times we spent Christmas down at "The Shack" or "Love Shack" as TJ preferred to call it. Those were the most special of times and really the best times I had at Christmas ever and I don't think another Christmas could hold a candle to waking up in the shack with TJ by my side ready to spend an entire day together.....just him and I....and how we so loved each other's company.

Merry Christmas TJ !

Thursday, December 24, 2009

I Thought It Would Be A Difficult Night For Me

Wrong!!!! My sister and her friend sprung Mom from the nursing home and brought her to my house for Christmas Eve dinner. My family has never been big on family get togethers on any holiday and we never had big Christmas celebrations. Tonight reminded me of why.

Mom has been in a nursing home for over 3 years now and is really going downhill in her health. She is having a much more difficult time transferring from her wheelchair and now seems very out of touch with reality.

Tonight during dinner she made a very nasty comment to my sister. I can blow these things off and attribute it to old age but it made my sister livid. As I looked across the table at my sister (who I know very well and am very close to) I could see the string of curse words forming in her head. I immediately said "no...stop it", her friend said "it is Christmas!" My sister scaled back her rebuttal but still told Mom how she felt. I am just glad that it was scaled back although I don't even think Mom realised what my sister had just said to her.

All families argue and are different. TJ's family was totally fake nice to your face and stabbed you in the back as soon as you walked out the front door, my family lets you know how they feel up front and sometimes it isn't pretty. Holidays with his family were just miserable but I suppose it would be miserable for an outsider to spend a holiday with my family. TJ and I usually tried to leave town at Christmas so we didn't have to be with either family and could just be alone at our property down south.

I thought tonight would be a difficult night for me
but after that exchange at dinner I am fine....I am grateful for the peace and quiet.....kinda like what TJ and I would have on Christmas eve at the property. Tomorrow I will be spending the day with friends, my sister will be spending her day with friends also and Mom will be back in her safety zone, it should be a good day for everyone.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Friends & The Yard Sale

Yard Sale time finally arrived!! I invited my grilfriends over on Thursday night to help me price & organize for the sale. Well.....after a little too much wine we just had to experiment with the Nordic Track that Debbie brought over to sell. That turned out to provide some good laughs and thankfully none of us got hurt!

If you have never tried a Nordic Track I advise against it. Unless, of course, you are extremely coordinated. Regardless of the Nordic Track fun we managed to get everything priced and ready to go for the next morning. I stayed up too late on Thursday night and drank a wee bit too much wine but was still able to get the sale going at daybreak with help from my friend Debbie. We had a good sale day today and are doing it again tomorrow. Although, tomorrow the morning should be quite a bit easier on both of us.

Hopefully we will have nothing left at the end of the day tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Does This Belong In The House Or In The Garage?

I haven't felt up to par all week so I decided to just take it easy tonight and repaint my nails. First thing I have to do is remove the old polish from my nails. I use acetone for this and this is how my journey through TJ memories began tonight.

Acetone (among other things) was a constant sharing between TJ and I. When he would run out of acetone in the garage he would come get mine out of the bathroom. Next time I needed it I would be in the garage looking for his!! The dremel tool was the other thing that he kept taking out in the garage. I use it to remove the last little bit of soaked off nails when I am getting a new set and lo and behold... every time I needed my darn dremel tool it would be missing and sure enough I would find it in the garage. Nail files too....Yes, nail files! He used them to sand in tight places on his car, I used them for the intended purpose. Often when I was making a run to the beauty supply store he would ask me to pick him up a few of the really coarse nail files. So, when I would run out I was always out in the garage borrowing nail files from him. I could go on and on about things that we used interchangeably between the garage and house but I am sure you get the idea.

Tonight though, I found the acetone in the garage, my dremel tool was in the bathroom and there was a brand new, never used nail file in the garage!! Made me smile just thinking of TJ and how he was always draggin stuff out into the garage only to have me dragging it back into the house to use.

We shared everything, our love for our friends, our love for our animals and our love for each other. I miss him.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Blogging Family / Community

It has been a rough year for me as you all know. When I began my blog it was a simple way to keep everyone informed of how TJ's treatment was progressing. It has served that purpose and more!!

I had no idea of how I would become part of a community that would come to be so important to me. I had no idea of the friendships I would develop with people from all over the world. I had no idea that I would wake up on a Saturday morning and find that one of those friends had dedicated a blog post to me! I am grateful to be a part of this community and thankful for the special friendships that have developed.

Please check out JarieLyn's post that she did just for me. Jarielyn is one of many that has been a faithful follower, has left the most wonderful encouraging comments and has become a friend through blogging. She only lives about 8 hours away so I am sure down the road there will be a visit in person! Thank you JarieLyn!

Oh yeah, the name of her blog is awesome too ..... Write Place! Write Chick!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Don't Know Which Is Worse

Two days ago I received a Christmas card in the mail that was addressed to TJ & Sandy Webb. OK, obviously this is someone who knows that TJ & I got married but doesn't know that TJ is gone. Turned out to be from friends of ours that I obviously forgot to call when TJ died, so now I feel really bad that they don't know and I can't find their phone number. Guess I should just stop by their house and let them know what has happened with TJ. Funny though how it affected me to see a Christmas card addressed to both TJ & I, yet I have been seeing that for years.

Today I received a Christmas card in the mail addressed to just me. Just TJ....had they forgotten TJ?!?! How weird does this look!!!! Neither TJ nor I have received individual cards for years, they always came addressed to both of us! This was obviously from someone who knows what is going on but nonetheless it was still my first individual Christmas card and just seemed very odd to me.

I am glad to have this obstacle behind me. I always wonder when the next one is going to pop up and what it will be. I don't blog about all of them but believe me there are lots of "firsts" and each and every one causes me to pause ... take a step back ... take a deep breath ... then... TAKE TWO STEPS FORWARD. Gotta compensate for that step back that I took!!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Mondays Are Never Good

Not a good way to start the week. This truck belongs to my boss and both he and his passenger walked away. I really think they are both pretty lucky especially the way that roof was smashed in.

Rainy and cold today so when I got home from work I did some administrative stuff. Called our lawyer for an appointment, completed some TJ paperwork and finally made my appointments to follow up with the lumps they found in my breast back in the beginning of September. I am glad TJ set things up the way he did to protect me from the crazies but the darn paperwork is extensive, although probably less hassle than if he had not done what he did so I guess I should not snivel.

Those of you that are regular readers know about my breast issues and because of TJ starting to go downhill at that time I was never able to follow up like I should have. Mentally I think I am more able to handle this now than I was then so it is just as well. Back then I was so afraid of being sick and not able to care for TJ. TJ was afraid he wasn't going to be around to take care of me. The whole thought of it stressed us both out!! Here he was going downhill fast and he was still bothering me to go get the MRI that the breast surgeon wanted me to get. I was finally able to convince him that the MRI could wait and our focus needed to be on keeping him comfortable.

Watching the weather...was planning my garage sale this week but might push it off for a week because of the crummy weather. We will see.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Fantastic Weekend !!!!!

I had an especially good weekend. I have been so wrapped up in getting ready for the yard sale that my weekends have been consumed with going through the garage and house and keeping to the strict schedule I put myself on. Well......I basically took this weekend off.

Like I had mentioned in my previous post, my sister and I had plans to bake on Saturday. Every year in the past I have always baked for TJ's sake. He loved all that candy, cookies, etc. that I made. This year I wasn't going to bake since he is no longer here for me to bake for. I am glad though that my sister changed my mind. We had a fabulous time together on Saturday. So many of the things we baked reminded me of TJ and how much he loved his sweets, especially chocolate. What is even better though is that now when I think of him I smile instead of cry. My memories are more of the good times and things we did together and not how sick and in horrible pain he was before he died. I feel really good about moving on and being able to smile when I think of TJ instead of being in misery.

Back to the baking, I ended up doing some of it on Friday night and since in the past I have always baked by myself I really enjoyed it. Then my sister and I baked from 9:30 to about 2:30 on Saturday and it was great quality time with her. We got to do lots of talking about TJ and just other sister stuff.

Saturday night I visited with some friends and had a good chat about miscellaneous stuff. Today it was really cold outside so instead of working in the garage I just goofed off in the house. I accomplished some stuff but was in no hurry to do anything and it was nice.

I am ending my weekend curled up on the couch with my laptop getting caught up on reading doesn't get any better than that for sure!!!

LIFE IS GOOD TODAY !!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

FlyingWG Christmas

Here is the FlyingWG that some of you have asked about. The "W" stands for TJ's last name and the "G" stood for my last name before we were married. When we got married I changed my name per TJ's request. FlyingWG is a registered brand in the state of Arizona so down the road I can use it should I choose to. My sister took this picture the night we celebrated TJ's life. What a beautiful sunset we had that night. Did someone have something to do with that? Well, depending on your beliefs maybe or maybe not but either way we had a beautiful evening to celebrate his life.

I am not much of a Christmas person and often times I did not even decorate for Christmas. This year though I decided to decorate and I made this decision for 2 reasons.....#1 was simply because I am planning a yard sale soon and wanted to go through all my Christmas stuff and put in the yard sale what I no longer wanted but most importantly #2 was because I didn't want my friends and family to think I was too depressed to decorate for Christmas and start feeling sorry for me. I know how people are and I could just hear the talk behind my back...."she didn't even put up a Christmas sad...she must really be having a rough Christmas season....etc." So, once again, I remind all of you that I am fine!! Yes, I have moments but they are just that and pass very quickly. Mostly it seems to be music that gets to me, which means that moments happen in my truck on my way to or from work. The song you are listening to now (how many of you are turning on your speakers now??...LOL) is one that hit me kinda hard the other day but of course it passed just as quickly as it hit me.
Right now I am looking forward to doing Christmas baking with my sister on Saturday. She moved to Arizona the end of September and my life has been crazy since she has been here and we haven't had much of a chance to spend time together so it should be fun.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Are You A Pack Rat?

If you are one of those that answer yes to the above question then I plead with you to make the following New Year's Resolutions. Also, if you answered no but people have told you that you are then these resolutions are for you too.


2. Go through all the stuff you have accumulated and have a giant yard sell, give to charity, anything......just get rid of the stuff you no longer need.

With TJ gone I now have the burden of going through all of the stuff he/we accumulated over the past 16 years. I like to think that I am not a pack rat but I of course have too much stuff too, it just happens to be different stuff than what TJ saved. You know, girlie stuff ..... shoes .... clothes .... jewelry, etc. All of which the excess will be in the yard sale or going to charity. TJ's stuff on the other hand is almost overwhelming to me. These pictures are what the garage looked like after bringing all the boxes down out of the attic.

Tell me.......where the heck do you start when it looks like that!!!! Well, what I did was just dig in and hit it hard. I pretty much got it done today but I worked at it all day and I am exhausted. I threw away so much stuff it was unbelievable. Some stuff I put in boxes to ship to his Father and Sister and some stuff in boxes to ship to his kids. I probably have 4 to 6 boxes to ship. I hope to get them packed properly over the weekend and ship at least some of them next week. This is going to cost me a fortune in shipping so I don't think I will do it all at once.

Moral of the story? Someone, be it your spouse, significant other, parents or your kids will have to sort through all your stuff when you are gone, so try to make it as easy on them as possible.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Since I don't have to cook today I have the time to do a quick Thanksgiving post. So to all my American friends and family Happy Thanksgiving and to those of you in other parts of the world I hope you just have an exceptional day.
When I first woke up this morning I really thought that this year I have absolutely nothing to be thankful for. But, as I sat and thought about that I quickly realized how that could not be further from the truth. Heck, was I not surrounded (in my bed even) by 4 dogs that love me unconditionally! I have family that lives close by and some in other parts of the country, but no matter where they are I know they are thinking of me and are grateful for me as I am grateful for them. Then of course there are my friends....many of whom went out of their way to invite me to their homes today. All of which are very concerned that I not be home alone today. Now, that is really something to be grateful for!! And those of you in blogland, your encouraging words really mean a lot to me and I am grateful to call all of you my friends and be a part of this wonderful community.

First time in 15 years that I have not cooked so it is kinda odd today for me but then again kinda nice not to have the stress. I really like leftover turkey so I bought a turkey breast to cook either today or tomorrow depending on how much time I spend visiting friends.

Happy Thanksgiving all and if I am able to find things to be thankful for today I know all of you can.....have a wonderful day with family and friends!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I'm Movin' On

First, I want to thank all my faithful blog followers that have stuck with me through this tough time. A special shout out to Pauline, your emails and comments have really inspired me to return to blogging, I too feel we have developed a special connection even though we have never met and your continued concern for me warms my heart more than you know. But, I am back to let everyone know that:

I'M MOVING ON !!!!!!!!!!!

I am done with this mourning stuff. I have read that people in the past would mourn for a year and wear black the whole time. What is up with that?!?! I know for a fact (we had time to discuss this) that TJ wants me to go on with my life and not mope around. Yes, I do run across things that are sentimental while cleaning out the house but the crying is over as well as the mourning. I spent 7 months consumed by cancer and taking care of TJ. I gave him what he wanted in the end. He was home, in our bed, and I was by his side holding his hand. I take a lot of comfort in that and feel that there was no more that I could have done for him. Well, it is finally my turn to take care of me and only me. I no longer have to answer to anyone and frankly I think I am kinda liking it.

Having said all that I am not saying that I no longer miss TJ or think about him. I do miss him and he is often in my mind. One of my personal coping mechanisms is when I begin to get depressed or sad about him being gone I think of something I did not like about him or about fights we had or about how he become a different person the last 3 years we were together. The last 3 years he turned to a different interest and even started hanging with new friends. I really missed him and the man that I fell in love with 16 years ago. Fortunately, after his cancer diagnosis, he came back to me and once again was ready (when he got well) to return to our old lifestyle. I was really hoping that would be a reality but deep inside I knew different and so did he. On good days we would walk the property, discuss repairs that must be made before bringing horses in, and talk about the old times with horses. He couldn't wait to get better, finish that car, sell it, and reinvest in horses again. Even though I knew that he was not going to get better, as did he, I was just happy to have my old TJ back again. The real TJ that I so very much loved.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Still Trudging Through the Week Hour By Hour

Well, it is not always hour by hour, sometimes it is even minute by minute. At times it feels like TJ is just on a trip and will be returning home any day now, but then something will happen or a thought will pop into my head and I come to the realization that he is not coming home any time soon or for that matter ever. This reality really hit me yesterday when they called from the mortuary to let me know his ashes were ready for me to pick up. When I hung up from that phone call I felt like I had hit a block wall with full force. The reality of what has happened brought me to my knees like it has not yet done. I realized that he will never be home again and that I am alone for now and for the foreseeable future. The sheer emotion of it all just coarsed through my entire body and I was frozen with fear. I felt utterly helpless and literally sick to my stomach. Fortunately this like all the other emotions I go through passed with a little bit of time. I don't know when I will go pick up his ashes but it will be within the next week and hopefully I have more of a grip on what has happened to my life.

I am supposed to go back to work on Monday but I am not sure that I am ready. I am still very emotionally unstable and don't know if I can handle it yet. I want to, but I am thinking another week of working from home would do me some good. Will have to talk to my boss about that.

In spite of the emotional roller coaster I have been on something wonderful happened to me today courtesy of my fellow blogger, Pauline from The Paddock, she has given me an award. If you frequently read my comments then you are familiar with her. She has left the kindest words for me and even when TJ was so terribly ill and I did not blog for a few weeks she emailed me to let me know TJ & I were in her thoughts.

Part of accepting this particular award is that you have to give one word answers to a series of questions and chose 6 other bloggers to pass the award along to. The questions are kinda silly but first I want to list my 6 bloggers and in no particular order and no particular reason other than the fact that I enjoy reading their blogs.

Daria - Living With Cancer
Jane - A journey of Another Kind
Bill - Cancer Can Suck It
WhiteStone - Wanna Walk Along
Shabby Girl - A Fish's Beach Wishes
Deb - My Husband's Cancer RCC

Now for the silly questions:

1. Where is your cell phone? Desk
2. Your Hair? Curly
3. Your Mother? Crazy
4. Your Father? Deceased
5. Your Favorite Food? Mexican
6. Your Dream Last Night? None
7. Your Favorite Drink? Wine
8. Your Dream/Goal? Dunno
9. What Room Are You In? Home Office
10. Your Hobby? Animals
11. Your Fear? Future
12. Where Do You Want To Be In 6 Years? Dunno
13. Where Were You Last Night? Hitchin Post
14. Something That You Aren't? Secure
15. Muffins? What???
16. Wish List Item? Kindle2
17. Where Did You Grow Up? Indiana
18. Last Thing You Did? Phone
19. What Are You Wearing? Jeans
20. Your TV? Old
21. Your Pets? Awesome!!!
22. Friends? Many
23. Your Life? Uncertain
24. Your Mood? Sad
25. Missing Someone? Hell Yes !!!!
26. Vehicle? GMC
27. Something You're Not Wearing? Shoes
28. Your Favorite Store? Feed
29. Your Favorite Color? Purple
30. When Was The Last Time You Laughed? Last Night
31. Last Time You Cried? Today
32. Your Best Friend? More than 1
33. One Place That I Go To Over & Over? Mountains
34. One Person Who Emails Me Regularly? Father-In-Law
35. Favorite Place To Eat? Home

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Am Actually OK

Well, it has been 1 week since losing TJ and I think all things considered I am doing OK. He did not want a traditional service; he wanted me to have a party so that is exactly what I did. Friday night beginning at 6:00 PM we began a celebration of TJ's life and boy was it a celebration. I know over 100 people were here throughout the night and lots of TJ stories being told. I put together a DVD of pictures to play continously on the TV and everyone was mesmerized by it. Although it brought lots of tears from men and women alike it also brought back many good memories of TJ and his love for life itself. I was overwhelmed by the mere number of people who showed up to celebrate his life and offer support to me.

As for me I think I am doing pretty much OK. I do have my moments but they pass. Tonight I burnt my steak that I cooked for myself on the grill.....TJ always cooked my steaks perfectly......I cried and cried. It is odd to me that something so minor can bring me to my knees with pain and sorrow. I don't know how long this will last but I do hope it is over soon....I hate the hurt, the pain and most of all I hate the fear. The fear of a very unknown future for myself is overwhelming.

On a brighter note some guys came by today to pick up and return the tables and chairs I borrowed for TJ's party. We had a couple beers together and I asked them to get some boxes down out of the attic for me to go through. I informed them that there were probably only about 8 - 10 boxes so it wouldn't take long. Well.......Mr. Pack Rat himself had a garage full of boxes up there. I had no idea!!!! Some were empty ??!!?? But most seemed to be full of just miscellaneous stuff that should have been tossed quite a while ago. Anyway, we all had quite a laugh at the sheer volume of stuff up there and swore that TJ was laughing at us hauling all of that stuff down out of the attic. In light of this I have decided that my first project is to go through the garage (which is full of attic boxes now). Then I will begin on the rest of the house. I know this will be heartbreaking but it is a task that must be done. Wish me luck!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

TJ Passed Away Yesterday

TJ passed away on Sunday, October 25 at 1:40 pm. I, of course, was by his side and he was home in our bed where he wanted to be. It was a tough battle for him and he fought very very hard. Unfortunately the end was very painful for him because the cancer had moved into his bones.

He is at peace now and pain free.

Thank you to everyone for their support over the last seven months. I plan to continue blogging but obviously the tone will be a little different in the future.

Rest In Peace TJ, Rest In Peace

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Radiation Did Not Get Off To A Good Start

TJ's radiation appointment was at 7:00 pm tonight and he spent the next hour after we got home vomiting. It is just horrible how he is feeling and it breaks my heart to see him in such a sad state. We are going to talk to the radiation oncologist tomorrow about the extreme pain and nausea. TJ is very quickly approaching throwing in the towel and even though it breaks my heart to think of losing him so soon I understand and respect whatever his decision is. His quality of life is down to zilch and he is in so much pain and now vomiting to boot, this is no kind of life for a human right now; no one should have to suffer the way he is now. Tomorrow his radiation appointment is at 5:10 am and it will be after that we speak to the doctor.

I am only working 4 hours a day so I can get home to take care of TJ but even 4 hours at work seems like an eternity. On one hand it does me good to get away and have my mind on something else but on the other hand TJ is constantly on my mind.

I will update again tomorrow after we talk with the radiation oncologist.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Cancer is Back

I have put off writing this post as it seems like even I don't want to accept the facts. This past Tuesday they did a MRI on TJ's spine while he was in the hospital and sure enough the cancer has spread to his spine. As horrible as this sounds I am still ever so slightly optimistic (well, at times I am at least). On Tuesday when they read the MRI report and saw that it was cancer they immediately sent TJ home. Now, he was happy to come home and I was happy to get him home BUT they still did not have his pain managed. They gave us a bunch of prescriptions for pain meds and told us to try different ones until we found one that worked for him!?!?!? For those of you that don't know, cancer in the bones is very painful. At first they had him on a pain patch and after I got him home he spent all day on Wednesday vomiting. Wednesday evening I pulled that pain patch off of him thinking it might be to strong for his gut to handle. Thursday we went back to him taking the hydrocodone which really does not do much for his pain at all.

Friday I decided to switch him to Oxycodone (5mg IMM REL). Now that is some strong stuff! He took 2 of these every four hours all day on Friday. When I got home from work he was sitting on the couch (he has not been out of the bedroom for almost 2 weeks) and said he was feeling pretty good. I can not tell you how happy this made me. All week he was hoping to feel good enough to go to a car show on Friday night and now it looks as though he was going to get to go. He went with a friend of his and I had an evening at home where I didn't have to do anything for anyone. It was wonderful! Don't get me wrong, he is still in pain but on a scale of 1 to 10 he went from being a 10 down to a 4 or 5 and that was a welcome relief.

When we first got the news TJ said no more treatments. But after we talked with the radiation oncologist he has decided to go through with another round of radiation. Dr. Ambrad told us that the chances of him eliminating TJ's pain is 85%. He will treat him with radiation 10 to 15 times and he said the side effects when radiating that part of the spine are minimal; lots of gas and mild diarrhea. There are 3 small cancer spots on his lower spine with the largest of the three being about 1/2" and he seems to think radiation will knock out the cancer and in turn eliminate the pain.

While radiation sounds like it will eliminate TJ's pain and the cancer we are looking at right now I can't get past the fact that it is now in his bones and wondering if it is festering somewhere else and will rear its ugly head again. On the other hand I know that this could just be a temporary set back and we could go for months or even years before it attacks us again.

Meanwhile we are taking an idea from fellow blogger (who just happens to have cancer in his bones too) and fellow Friday Photo Shoot Out member, Barry, and planning a mini vacation. We are going to rent a motor home and go see some stuff in New Mexico. We want to stay fairly close to home and neither one of us has done much in New Mexico so I think it will be fun. We have to get TJ through radiation first though and his Father is driving out from Indiana to stay with us for 3 weeks and then we are taking off. We should head out of here around the first weekend in November. Right now it is keeping us busy and we are having fun just planning it.

Last night (Saturday) we visited some friends for a couple of hours. It was nice to see TJ out 2 nights in a row and I enjoyed being out with him. We have an appointment on Monday with an Ear, Nose & Throat doctor about the constant ringing in his ears and of course he starts radiation next week also. Still nothing tastes good to him so it is a struggle to get him to eat and he is losing weight. I am hoping that this taste thing will pass soon.

I will keep everyone updated on the progress of the radiation treatments. I hope they begin to eliminate the pain very soon!

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Monday, September 28, 2009

TJ Has Been Admitted To The Hospital

Now before anyone gets hysterical I am to the point that I think this is a good thing. His pain has been so unbearable he needed to be where they can manage his pain. When I left him tonight he was in fairly good spirits and his pain was greatly reduced. He was even smiling and joking with the nurses. He has been so miserable since Saturday that it was nice to see a smile on his face again instead of a grimace.

The plan is to do an MRI tomorrow and find out what the heck is causing all this pain. Hopefully it is something other than the spread of cancer. Everyone please pray and keep your fingers and toes crossed that the cancer has not spread to his spine. I will update when I know something.

By the way, as of now I am doing fine. I have not been sleeping well with him being in such bad pain the last few nights so I plan to hit the hay early and get a good night sleep. When I left the hospital TJ asked me if I was going to be OK at home without him; I told him I will miss him bunches but I will be fine.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday "Early" Morning in The Emergency Room

As I have talked about before the pain in TJ's back has been unbearable. On Friday we went to the Oncologist and he does not seem to think it is cancer spread but wants to do an MRI of his spine just to make sure. Also because of his weight loss we have an appointment with a dietitian on Monday afternoon. TJ will also be seeing an Ear, Nose & Throat guy in the near future. We go back to Nabong in 2 weeks for results.

Meanwhile his pain is terrible. Finally, Sunday morning about 1:30 am he admitted he was ready to go to the ER. We were dressed and on the road by 2:00. The ER was fortunately empty so he got in right away. They gave him Dilaudid through his port and out he went immediately. I, on the other hand, was sitting in a chair from hell and could not sleep. When they were sure he was not going to have a reaction to the Dilaudid they sent him home with a script. This stuff is several times stronger than morphine so they only give you a few pills at a time because they don't want you to give them out to friends, family or selling them on the street. My question is who is the hell would be stupid enough to do that!!!!! I guess it happens all the time though, what idiots those people must be!

But, now that we are home all the dilaudid does is knock him out for a couple of hours and when he wakes up the pain is just as bad. The only place he is comfortable is flat on his back in bed. He can't even lay on the couch or sit in one of the chairs in the living room. I feel so bad for him. First thing tomorrow morning I will be calling his Oncologist again. I don't know what is wrong but they have to figure something out.

Short post and very fact oriented but I am tired and need to get some rest. Please hope that we get this figured out and soon!! His attitude is still good but I don't know how much longer that will hold with the kind of pain he is experiencing.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out: My Favorite Place To _______________

Oh how I have been thinking about and looking forward to this topic. This week I can make up for all those weeks that I have drawn a blank and posted just one lonely photo. The first thing that came to mind was:


They have the best deals in town and it has that small town feel that Apache Junction has lost in recent years. I also love the old fashioned signs they have.

I went there the other day and got all this stuff for $10. I don't know about other parts of the world or even other parts of the country but for here in Arizona $10 is quite a bargain for all this stuff.

My Favorite Place to "Sit Comfortable & Read"

The rocker was given to me years ago by a few very close friends at a time when I was really down. I have hauled it back and forth across the US numerous times and probably will never part with it. I have a bad back and it is really the only place I can sit comfortably, especially when I prop my feet up on the arm of the couch. It may not be the most eye appealing way to arrange furniture but it sure is practical!

As most of you know TJ's Mom passed away last week. One of the few things he asked her to leave to him was this table. I don't know all the details on it yet but I know that TJ remembers it from when he was very young. Sooo, in honor of his Mother and just because I love TJ like I do, this is now :

My Favorite Place to "Sit & Eat Dinner With TJ"

Great theme this week and I can't wait to see what all the other members post as this leaves so much to interpretation.

Save The Boobs!!

I am all about anything it takes to make people aware of early detection and the need for additional research so we can find a cure!

Be sure you have your sound on.

I Love It!!!!!!!

Hope I didn't offend any of my regular readers and if I did I apologize.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Take Comfort in Joy Where You Find It

From the depths of our struggles sprout the blossoms of our strengths.

With TJ feeling so poorly lately it has been very hard to find an upside to anything in life. Ok, reality is that he has felt like total shit for weeks and the both of us are tired of it! This morning was an especially bad morning and it breaks my heart to see him in such pain.

His appetite is good except for the fact that nothing tastes good to him when he eats it. This results in him taking a few bites of something and then pushing it away. He is starting to lose weight and frankly it scares the hell out of me. He is no longer the lean, strong, muscular man I met almost 16 years ago and it kills me. He was a framer then and I used to love to watch him work. It amazed me how he could hoist himself up and around trusses all the while hammering away. Believe it or not our life has not always been about cancer. We used to be carefree and have lots of fun.

Having said that though, we still do have fun. It is just different now. Everyone talks about the "new normal" and even though I don't like our "new normal" I have learned to put on a smile and take comfort in joy where we can find it. Just this morning when I felt like TJ was having the worst day ever in this journey we actually had a laugh. He had just finished dressing and we were going to walk into the kitchen together when he went back into the bathroom. I waited....and waited....(I am very impatient) and finally asked him what he was doing? He said "Combing my hair!!" (his hair is just beginning to grow back from chemo and is barely visible!) He walked out and we both had a little laugh. Is this our "new normal"?! If it is I guess I can accept it as long as we get to have a laugh together every once in a while.

Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

What a Week!!

I really wanted to post yesterday but I was just too exhausted and decided to just take it easy all day. After I got done with my chores of course, which was around 1:00 pm. Unfortunately for those of you that are regular readers I have had lots of time to think the past two weeks and have come up with quite a few ideas for posts so you can expect me to be back at the 3 to 4 a week again, heck maybe even more with all that has been going through my head lately. Today though I am just going to give quick updates on the nitty gritty stuff and will elaborate on some of it at a later date.

First...The service for TJ's Mom was Friday afternoon and it was a very nice service. I have an issue with funerals, but that is just my opinion. All in all though I thought it was very tasteful and nice. Those who spoke did an excellent job and it was nice to see all the people that knew and loved Carol. All of TJ's family headed back east on Saturday morning and soon things will be back to normal around here.

Second...TJ still is having quite a bit of back pain but it is somewhat better today and hopefully tomorrow it will be better yet. I am still unsure of this and we have discussed seeing the oncologist about it. At this time though we are in a wait and see mode.

Third....My mammogram and ultrasound seem to be OK. Wednesday I had an appointment with a breast cancer surgeon to look at my films. His opinion is that they are benign cysts but because my breasts are so dense and I have a strong family history of breast cancer he wants me to get an MRI just to make sure. I am fine with that. They have not called to schedule it yet so I have no idea when it will be. In addition to that he talked to me about getting some genetic testing done to see if I have the BRCA1 gene. If in fact I do have this gene my chances of getting breast cancer are 85%. HOLY COW!!! THAT IS HIGH!!!! Additionally, because of my high risk insurance will pay for the genetic testing but there is just one catch.......If I have this gene I have to immediately have a double mastectomy. If I choose not to get the mastectomy then should I get breast cancer down the road they will not cover it. Good news is they will also cover reconstructive surgery and the surgeon even told me I could upgrade should I choose to. NOW THAT'S WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT ;) Seriously though....Am I mentally ready to have both my boobs cut off?....I don't know......With TJ ill do I really have the time to go through all this right now?.........I don't know. My decision for now is to research, research, research .... arm myself with a bunch of questions and bombard the surgeon with them when I get the results of my MRI. I will then make a decision about whether to go ahead with the genetic testing now or in the future.

We can't choose our challenges, but we can meet them with grace.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out - Animals (Domesticated)

Whoever said you can't buy happiness forgot little puppies.

We have 3 Australian Cattle Dogs and 1 Chihuahua. This is Shiner chilling on the couch, which is specifically for the dogs (note the dog themed cover)
Ahhh, Dobie, aka The Mexican, aka The Ankle Biter, aka Munchkin. He was abused so he has many social issues but with TJ & I he is a little doll. This is him & TJ taking a nap on the couch, he loves to sleep on TJ's chest. Gee, so do I, does this mean I have competition?!?!?!

Dobie is hoping to one day grow up and be just like Shiner. Fat chance little guy!! Although he does think they are buddies and Shiner completely ignores him.

Okie is the white one on the left, Mickey is on the right. Shiner is Okie's Dad and Mickey is Okie's Mom. It has been really fun to see both the personalities of Shiner and Mickey come out in Okie. By the way, Okie is my favorite and is a super big Mommas Boy.

Rear view of the above picture. Matching chubby butts.

Agenda for the Day: Wag more.....Bark less

Handle every stressful situation like a dog, if you can't eat it or hump it; pee on it and walk away!

Carol L. Webb

Carol L. Webb peacefully passed away on September 15, 2009. She was born in Saginaw, Michigan but spent most of her life in Mesa, Arizona. Carol was an extraordinary woman who loved God first and then her family and friends. She was most proud of her kids, T.J. and Kelly, and her grandchildren, Nicholas, Rhiannon, Phylicia, and Billy. She was a mentor to some and model to all. Carol was an avid golfer who achieved a hole in one at age 68. She and her beloved Joe Bushroe resided in Leisure World. She will be missed by many, as to know Carol was to love Carol. Memorial services will be held at 4:30 p.m., Friday, September 18, 2009 at Mariposa Gardens Cemetery Chapel, 6747 E. Broadway Road, Mesa, Arizona, 85206 (480) 830-4422. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting contributions in Carol's name to Odyssey Hospice, 6215 E. Arbor Avenue, Mesa, Arizona 85206.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time Off

Lately I just haven't had much to say and that is pretty rare. I guess I had some sort of blogger fatigue. Thinking you all are tired of hearing all this sad stuff and I am tired of talking about it. But, having said that I am now somewhat rested and ready to catch everyone up on the drama that has become my life.
First of all TJ's mom is still with us, well, at least somewhat. She is in Hospice and as of Sunday is non responsive. I really don't think it will be much longer and at this point it is really time for her to go. Although I know it will be hard on TJ and his sister Kelly, sometimes lingering is just as difficult. She was actually expected to pass sometime this past weekend so Kelly got the grandkids here to see her. Kelly's kids; Nick & Phylicia are here (I say kids but they are both adults and what wonderful people they have turned out to be) and TJ's kids Billy & Rhiannon flew in on Saturday and left this afternoon. Kelly's husband Dennis is also here and I know Kelly was happy when he got in. He is a rock and one of the kindest, most compassionate men I have ever met. We had everyone over on Saturday night for a big family dinner (OK, we provided the house and Kelly bought all the food and cooked) and it was lots of fun. TJ & I have always enjoyed the company of Kelly & Dennis and to have Nick & Phylicia here was just icing on the cake!

TJ's health is a story in and of itself. I am beside myself with what to do for him. His back pain is still terrible. Today he went to our Primary Care Physician who is a DO and had him adjust his back. I spoke with him right after his appointment and he was feeling pretty good. He laid down for a nap at about 1:00 PM today and has not been out of bed since. The pain is too bad for him to even come and lay on the couch. He goes back to our PCP on Thursday and hopefully he will be able to help him. If not, then I have to figure out something else. It has been 6 weeks since his last chemo treatment and there is no reason for him to feel this terrible.

Days like today make me think about those depressing quality of life posters you see in almost all cancer treatment centers and Oncologist offices. His percentages have not looked good the last few days and it completely freaks me out! I just keep telling myself that this is temporary and we will get it figured out but as most of you know there is that nagging in the back of your mind that tells you it is not good, not good at all.

So, time to put on that happy face and see if I can't get him to eat a bit so he can take some more pain meds.

Hard things are put in our way not to stop us, but to call out our courage and strength.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out - Aged & Weathered

This latern was given to us a long time ago and although we have never used it, I am sure it would still work. My first thought for this topic was to take a picture of myself to post but I am sure someone else has already done that. I carried my camera around with me for a week and this is all I came up with. PITIFUL!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Must Enjoy Little Things & Laugh

Define what makes you happy . . . make sure you're doing it regularly.

TJ and I truly enjoy our mornings. We like sitting on the patio in the morning, drinking coffee and chatting about our plans for the day. We have been together for over 15 years and drinking coffee together in the morning has always been a ritual for us. There was a point when TJ was on steroids and going through radiation that he had a constant bloating feeling and severe heartburn. It was at this point in his treatment that he quit drinking coffee for a bit. I hated it!!! It so disturbed me that "Cancer" had the ability to take away even such a small joy from us and it didn't seem fair. Fortunately this, like most of the other side effects of treatment, passed and TJ is now back to drinking coffee with me in the morning. Because we are both morning people we are sometimes on the patio before daylight but it is wonderful to look forward to that time each day. Recently TJ turned me on to a breakfast food that he ate growing up and we have added that to our morning ritual. This is awesome and anyone that has not had it must try it!! Today I bought strawberries and cut them into little tiny pieces, time consuming but worth it. Put sugar on them and set them in the fridge (I know, sounds normal). Tomorrow morning I will toast a muffin for us to split, butter it and then we put the strawberries on it and lots of the juice that the sugar has brought out in the berries. Awesome!!!

We cannot really love anybody with whom we never laugh ~ Repplier

It has been almost 6 months since our lives were turned upside down with a cancer diagnosis. While it was devastating, I think both of us have learned so much and even with the terrible week we had last week there have been times when we were able to laugh. Humor has played a big part in dealing with everything happening lately. I really think I have TJ to thank for that but nonetheless we are able to have a good time together in the face of adversity. There are many times that he will say something so off the wall that we both absolutely crack up and as TJ puts it, "we have a good belly laugh". Chemo brain has caused lots of these moments too. Just the other day TJ said to me, "I really don't think any other couple has as much fun together as we do". When you think about that statement it is a pretty incredible thing to say about a 15+ year relationship.

We are not here to see through each other . . . but to see each other through

I promised TJ when he was diagnosed that I would stand by him and fight this beast! Now that his Mother is so ill he knows I am here for him also as he goes through this. In return he put Patsy down for me even as hard as it was for him to do. Our relationship has taken a dramatic change for the better in the last 6 months and for this I am very grateful. I just hate that it took a cancer diagnosis for us to see things in each other that were there all along.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Friday, September 4, 2009

Drama & The Week From Hell!!

We all have those friends that just thrive on drama of just about any kind and if it is not in their personal life then they thrive on someone elses drama. I have never been one of those people. Frankly, I hate drama! I prefer to just skate through life minding my own business, not gossiping, telling big tales or even really getting involved in the lives of others. I have my friends and I care about them and what happens in their lives but I sure don't thrive on their drama. Having said that it seems as though the last 6 months of my life has been filled with drama and it is really taking a toll on me. With TJ not feeling well I have to take care of everything around here. He pretty much has been consistently taking care of the dogs and feeding the horses for me in the morning but other than that he sometimes just does not feel like doing any housework. He does what he can and I know that he wishes he could do more but sometimes the energy just is not there for him. This leaves me with chores to do when I get home from work and consumes my weeknights. I get angry sometimes and I hate myself for it but it is out of sheer exhaustion and not frustration with TJ personally. Usually when I get home he is just waking from a nap and feeling pretty good, I on the other hand see nothing but chores that need to get done so while he is bored in the evenings I am just plain tired.

This week has been a particularly bad week for both of us! Of course on Monday I found out that I have lumpy breasts that need to be checked out. On Wednesday we got TJ's scan results, now this was not a really bad day but it was still drama and stress. The worst day was yesterday! When I got home from work my mule (Patsy Cline) was laying down and things just didn't look right. TJ was not sure if she had been up or not all day long. So off I go to check on her. Sure enough, she is down and can't get up. She has arthritis and it has been getting progressively worse. DAMN!!! And wouldn't ya know it, it is about to rain and rain hard! There is nothing I can do but sit back and wait for the rain to slow or pass and then go check on her. To make things worse she is laying in the natural wash that runs through our arena. DAMN again!! Fortunately, as is the norm here, the rain doesn't last long and I run out to check on her. Her spirits are good (trust me, I can see this in her) so I fill a bucket with drinking water and go back in. Three more times during the night I went out to check on her and refresh her water. TJ kept her water as fresh as he could today and my neighbors brought her over a new fly mask and some hay at some point during the day while I was at work. (Adrienne, I know it was you and I thank you very much!!!!) She had dinner and water this evening and I am going to try and sleep all night without checking on her. Yeah right Sandy, whatever!!! Tomorrow morning first thing TJ is going to put her down for me and a friend of his is bringing a backhoe to bury her. I hate it but I simply can't let her suffer any more than she already has the last 24 hours.

As if that wasn't bad enough for our Thursday evening there is actually more DRAMA. TJ got a text from his sister about 8:30 pm that they were sending his Mom to Hospice at that moment. This was totally his Mom's choice and as I was awake most of the night last night with Patsy I thought about it alot and I understand this tough decision she made and I really think it is for the best for her and her family. They will keep her comfortable and that is what is wanted by everyone involved. Although, this is a tough pill for TJ to swallow and I can see his heart breaking. Any of you that have lost one or both parents know how hard this is. His father is still kicking it in Indiana so this is a first for TJ and devastating as we all know. The pain of losing a parent is like no other pain in the world and I so wish I could help him but nothing I say or do will lessen his pain.

So, I guess our week was a drama filled week from hell. It has to get better from here.

There are two ways of meeting difficulties; you alter the difficulties or you alter yourself to meet them ~ Phyllis Battome

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Scan Results

Not exactly what we were hoping for but definitely could have been quite a bit worse. The good news is that for now no more chemo is scheduled and his next scan will be in 2 months. Here is what they found on the scan: 1) the cancer in his lung is stable 2) his brain lesions are stable and his brain isn't showing any signs of swelling 3) there is one new very small lesion on his brain 4) there is a very small undetermined lesion on his liver.

We joke that the "undetermined" lesion on his liver is probably cirrhosis. LOL But those of you that have known us for a while are probably shaking your head laughing and saying to yourself, "yep, probably is". Obviously we didn't mention this to the doctor but he isn't too worried about it either, although that is his reason for scan in 2 months instead of the normal 3.

So, all in all a pretty good outcome and we are looking forward to the time off of treatments. Providing of course that I don't have to have some kind of surgery and screw the whole thing up!

Under the greatest adversity there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others ~ Dalai Lama

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Doctor Appointments

It's all about the doctor appointments. Here is what we have coming up.

Tomorrow - we see Dr. Nabong to get TJ's scan results

September 9th - I go for my mammogram and ultrasound

September 16th - I go for my surgery consult (this is the day before my birthday so I better get good news!!!)

So, 3 Wednesdays in a row we have medical stuff.

TJ's Mom came home from the hospital today so that is a good thing. Kelly (TJ's sister) is here, and Joanie (TJ's aunt) is here also and I am sure they are taking excellent care of her.

Not a bad day for TJ as far as pain goes but he did sleep quite a bit.

As to be expected we are nervous about the scan results. Especially with his Mom's sudden relapse and his extreme back pain.

Had a friend say to me today "when it rains, it pours", I said to her "it is beyond pouring, it is freaking hailing!!" That is pretty much how I am feeling these days.

I will let you all know tomorrow night about TJ's scan results.

Thanks for all the support.

Battle On TJ, Battle On!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Are You Kidding Me?!?! I Don't Have Time for This!!

First of all I want to let everyone know that the prognosis for TJ's Mom is not good at all. Having said that though, she is a fighter and a tough woman so maybe with a few prayers and some finger crossing she can beat the odds that were given to her.

Battle On Carol, Battle On

I, on the other hand, went to the Gyno today for my yearly "well woman exam". Geesh they make it sound so glorious don't they? Turns out that she found a couple of lumps on my breasts (yep, both of them) and wants me to get a diagnostic mammogram right away. My regular mammo isn't due until November. As soon as I get my Mammogram I am to meet with a doctor for a surgery consult. What the hell!?!?!?! I truly don't have time for this and I told her so today. I especially don't have time for any type of surgery let alone cancer. I am still taking care of TJ and he is not well enough in my opinion to begin taking care of me. Although, if you ask him, he is ready, able, and willing. Frankly, I appreciate that about him, but we already have enough on our plate and I sure don't need to be an additional burden around here. We are just keeping in mind that we had a scare similar to this last year and it all turned out OK. This year though is in a different location and both breasts. It is what it is and we will do what we have to do.

Just a reminder to everyone that TJ gets his scan results Wednesday afternoon so please cross things and pray for him.

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Roller Coaster Day !!

Right now all I can say about today is WOW!! The morning started off great. Both TJ and I woke up early and sat on the patio with the dogs drinking coffee. Nice morning here in beautiful AZ so was very enjoyable. A little before 7:00 AM we decided to head in the house for some breakfast. As soon as we walked in the house we heard a knock on the door. I assumed it was a car guy and told TJ I was going to go get a shower. Turned out it was not a car guy. It was our neighbors (not the ones that throw flakes to my horses but the ones to the south). Too many good neighbors to keep track of is a wonderful thing! Anyway, I heard Josh tell TJ "we rounded up a possee" I am heading for the shower but thinking what the heck does that mean? I sneaked a peak out the spare bedroom window and there were Josh & Sarah, Josh's Mom & Dad, & two Elders from their Ward in our front yard. All the weeds were gone and the tree was trimmed!!!! I went ahead and jumped in the shower and turned out they all headed to the backyard to do the same thing. As soon as I got out of the shower I headed outside to thank them all. What a wonderful thing to do for us. TJ has been talking for weeks about getting someone to help him clean up the yard and trim trees and BAM we got help. I have to admit that when I walked in the backyard to thank them all I had a huge lump in my throat and could hardly speak. This was such a huge help they had no idea. TJ and I both have always been the first ones to step up to the plate and help others in their time of need but to actually be on the receiving end of help was new to both of us and made us both so grateful once again for fantastic neighbors and friends. At the last minute TJ said I should get my camera so here are a few photos I snapped just as they were finishing up.

I so wish I could remember the name of the Elders that helped but I was so overcome with emotion their names went in one ear and out the other. THANKS A BUNCH TO ALL OF YOU!!

So, that was the first part of the roller coaster ride today. We are at the top but unfortunately that speedy downhill is quickly approaching. After they were all done and gone TJ and I had some breakfast and decided to run some errands; PetsMart, Staples (for my work), Best Buy, etc. When TJ grabbed his phone right before we left he had a voicemail. It was from Joe, his Mom's boyfriend, and his mom is not doing well at all and they are at the Emergency Room. His message was garbled and we really could not understand it. Finally, Kelly, TJ's sister called and gave us the scoop, she is in the hospital in Mesa. We finally get up there this afternoon and talked to her nurse. Keep in mind that she was diagnosed with cancer about 1 week before TJ. Here are the things that her nurse told us and keep in mind nothing is set in stone as tests are being run but these are the things that they are looking at. Her heart rhythm is off, she has paralysis in her right leg (possible stroke), something showed up in her brain on the CT scan they did (possible brain mets i.e. cancer spread), and some kind of bacteria infection that they are talking to infectious disease about that is giving her a fever. Because if the infection you had to wear and gown and gloves just to go in the room!! We spoke with her nurse and he suggested that TJ not go in there at all since his immune system is compromised because of the chemo. So guess who got volunteered?! The one who always wore masks and gloves when his kids got the flue and is extremely paranoid of sickness?!?!!? Are you kidding me ??? Then TJ said, "please go and tell me how she looks, I need you to do this". So, of course I did and it wasn't so bad really and she looked OK. She obviously feels bad with the fever but really looked OK over all. I spoke with her a bit and then we took off.

I hate to keep doing this but PLEASE cross fingers and pray for her, we are very worried.

Change in my sign off tonight:

Battle On Carol, Battle On

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Friday Photo Shoot Out - Incongruous

Incongruous - meaning out of place, ridiculous, inconsistent, contradictory.

This subject happened to be pretty easy for me this week. As a matter of fact I took the picture last weekend and have been waiting not so patiently for the end of the week to post it. We have the best neighbors that live behind us!! Their horses border ours and sometimes on the weekends when they feed before I do they will throw a couple of flakes of hay over the fence to my guys. My guys love it cause they get to eat early and get hay instead of pellets!! Now, my mule (Patsy Cline) is pushing 30 years old and she tends to like to sleep in. I tell ya, this girl is a sleeper and I have never seen anything like it. She wakes up and stretches like a human before she gets up. It is quite a sight to see. Last Sunday I had thought that I got up early enough to beat Adriene to feeding but alas, NOT!! This is what I saw when I looked out the window and I just had to get a picture as I have NEVER, EVER seen a horse (or mule) eat while laying down.

By the way, TJ and I hung out on the patio drinking coffee and Patsy did not get up until she was done with her hay! Even animals can enjoy a lazy Sunday morning.

So to me this is very INCONGRUOUS !!

On a side note, I am blessed to have found this group and I really appreciate all the support I get from many of the members, even when I do miss a week.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Scanxiety Time

I stole that term from a fellow blogger and if I could remember who I would give them credit. But, the term fits the cicumstance. Tomorrow is TJ's scan, although we don't get the results from the doctor until the following Wednesday afternoon. Anyway, this is a very nervous time as all cancer patients and their loved ones can attest to. Is the cancer gone? Has the cancer spread? Will I require more treatment? Will I require different treatment? What will my quality of life be if I need more treatment? Am I going to make it through this? Am I in remission? When is this going to end? And believe me I could go on and on but there really is no point, it is what it is and all we can do is hope for the very best and keep chugging along.

TJ has still been having quite a bit of back pain and we can't seem to really get it under control. I thought that by now he would be doing so much better. The last couple of nights he has been waking up in quite a bit of pain and needing meds. I hate this for him as I am beginning to see his spirits droop a bit and his attitude has gotten worse. Of course I understand why but it is frustrating for me and I don't know what to do to help him. He is beginning to lose weight and nothing I suggest to eat sounds good to him.

I am asking everyone out there to please cross fingers, pray, cross toes and anything else that you can do to send some luck TJ's way as he goes for his scan in the morning. I plan on rubbing his little bald head for luck :)

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No ER Trip & Lessons Learned from Cancer

Well, we successfully avoided a trip to the ER. I am not sure what happened except that someone flipped that switch that I have talked about in the past. While I said that neither TJ nor I really thought he needed to go to the ER I would have taken him if he felt worse on Friday. He actually felt just a bit better Friday morning so we decided to hold off and see how the day went. I would like to think it was my biscuits and gravy Thursday night that attributed to his recovery but I really don't think so. I think it was the fear of going to the ER. Also, Thursday night I stayed up until 11:00 pm to give him some more pain medication and woke up at 3:00 am for another dose. While 4 hours of sleep made for a long work day on Friday for me I do think that staying on a 4 hour schedule with his pain meds helped him immensely.

Friday TJ worked on his car for a bit and even ran the vacuum for me. We were beginning to swim in dog hair around here so I really appreciated the vacuuming. After dinner we bowled a game on Wii and shortly after that he called it quits for the night and hit the sack about 8:00 pm.

This morning we were both up shortly after 5:00 am and the weather here was beautiful this morning so we sat on the patio and drank coffee for about 2 hours. He then called a friend, Rick, and he came over to help him work on his car for a couple of hours. While sitting outside and watching the dogs goof around it really made me realize all that I have learned from this journey.

Mostly I have learned that it is OK to slow down in life a bit. Before cancer we never would have sat on the patio for 2 hours drinking coffee. We always felt like we had chores to get done or someplace to go and most of the time it was both. I have learned that household chores just aren't as important as they used to be. My house does not need to be super clean and a little (ok, sometimes a lot) dog hair never hurt anyone. Now all I want is no clutter and no filth. Time is too short to waste it cleaning house. I have learned that you really don't know what you have until something threatens to take it away in the blink of an eye. The reality of this hits you like a sharp blow to the head and brings you to your knees. Granted that reality is always in the back of my mind but I have, and so has TJ, learned to cherish every moment and not spend time worrying about what "might" happen. It is all about living in the present now. Not that we don't talk about the future, we do, but when we do it is with caution as we don't know what the next week will bring let alone the next year. The weekend that TJ was diagnosed he went in the hospital on a Friday afternoon. I was with him until late Friday night and back up there by 7:00 am on Saturday morning. It was 10:00 pm Saturday night before I got back home and the dogs had been locked in the house all day. Needless to say I had some "accidents" to clean up when I got home (thank goodness for tile floors). Obviously I could not be mad at them but while I was mopping up urine I just thought aloud, "this is just small stuff, not important, and in the big picture it is all small stuff, don't sweat the small stuff". There was a time before that I would have been crazy hysterical about the dogs peeing in the house but not anymore. When TJ came home from the hospital I told him about that incident. From that point on there have been countless times that things have happened and we both just look at each other and say "it's just small stuff, don't sweat the small stuff!"

Life isn't about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain!

Battle On TJ, Battle On

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Possible Trip To The ER

I so did not see this coming! It has been 2 weeks since TJ's last treatment and he is still very, very sore. As a matter of fact he is miserable! I couldn't take it anymore so I called the Cancer Center today to see if they had any ideas to help him. I went through the usual process of leaving a message for the nurse and waiting for a call back. Usually they call back very soon, but today I did not get a call back until this afternoon. When I did receive a call it was from Dr. Nabong (TJ's Oncologist) himself. I described to him what was going on and he did not sound happy at all. Not a good thing when your Oncologist sounds worried. He asked me if I thought I should take him to the Emergency Room and I said no, we continued our discussion and his final decision was that if TJ is not better tomorrow then I need to take him to the ER and have them call him immediately.
When I told TJ this he was not happy at all (Surprise, Surprise) and informed me that he did not think this required an ER visit. I agree with him whole heartedly!! I had told Nabong that it was like the Neulasta shot was still affecting him and he told me that it might be. If that is the case then we just need to ride it out and there really is no reason to go to the hospital in my opinion and TJ agrees. Meanwhile we are going to be diligent about him taking his hydrocodone every 4 hours for the next 24 hours and see if that helps. If it does not then I will leave work a couple of hours early tomorrow and take him to the ER.
I think some of his problem is that he is not eating well because nothing tastes good to him. This afternoon after I talked to TJ about what Nabong said I received a text from him asking for biscuits and gravy for dinner. He has always loved my sausage gravy! So, I stopped at the store on my way home from work and got the fixins to make it for him. What do ya know! He ate really well and seems to be feeling just a tad bit better. I jokingly told him it was the fear of having to go to the hospital that is making him feel better. We will see tomorrow and I will let you all know.
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I Spoke Too Soon

Just when I thought TJ was settling into a nice 3 week break from treatment....BAM, OUT OF NOWHERE!! That darn back pain hits him again. It started Sunday night and has not let up. Sunday and Monday night he was up quite a bit because he was just plain uncomfortable. This of course keeps me up at night worrying about him and I have to tell ya I have been just plum tired at work this week. I am hoping for a better night tonight but as of now it is not looking good. He has been taking Hydrocodone every 4 hours and he is still just as miserable as can be. I feel so bad for him but there just isn't anything I can do for this and we just have to ride it out. I wish I could say that I don't understand but the reality of it is that I do.
You see, the chemo kills all his white blood cells and now his body is working overtime to rebuild them. His labs between treatments always show really great white blood cell counts so it is worth it (but of course that is easy for me to say, I am not the one in pain). I am considering giving him 2 Hydrocodone tonight so both of us can get a good sleep. His prescription says 1 or 2 and he has only been taking one so it should not be a problem. Heck, maybe a good sleep would help him to feel better too.
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No News is Good News

For whatever reason I have not hardly posted this week and for those of you that follow diligently I am sorry. It was just kind of an uneventful week, which is a good thing lately. Now that we have his meds dialed in the Neulasta shot does not keep him down as long and by Wednesday or Thursday TJ was up and running.

My sister and her friend have bought a home on the other side of town in Pebble Creek and although my sister is still in Indiana her friend Diana is here so on Saturday TJ & I drove over there for a visit and a quick swim in the pool. Pool water was a bit cool for us at 80 Farenheit but was refreshing anyway. When we got home TJ took a 2 hour nap and then headed to one of his car buddy's house for a visit. I passed on this as the last thing on my list of things to do on a Saturday night is sit and listen to guys talk about cars. BORING!!! So this meant that on a Saturday night I actually was home alone and probably for the first time in my life I was happy to be home alone on a Saturday night. I did not even make a phone call to find something to do. I had some dinner and watched a stupid chick flick on Hallmark Channel. Boy was it good to have some brain dead time and believe me, you have to be brain dead to watch Hallmark movies. Just for the record I don't plan on making a habit of this. Bad part is that TJ did so much on Saturday that he slept through a big part of the race today and is back napping again.

We had an interesting morning this morning though and I am laughing again just thinking about it. We were sitting on the patio drinking coffee and the weather was beautiful but the sound of the pigeons on the tack room roof was making us crazy. TJ went in the house and got the pellet gun and took a couple of shots at them from the patio mostly just to run them off. We didn't think much about it until we decided to go inside and fix some breakfast. It was then that we realized Dobie was gone. OH MY GOD, THE LITTLE CHIHUAHUA IS GOING TO BE COYOTE BREAKFAST!!!!!! We are thinking that the pellet gun sound scared him and he ran off. First we look in the house and under every piece of furniture, even the stuff we didn't think he could fit under. NO DOBIE! Then we begin searching our yard and the neighbor's yard. NO DOBIE! Ok, let's split up and walk across the street and look for him. NO DOBIE! Holy hell, he is so small and defenseless and with no tag on his collar. TJ opens the garage door and we are going to get in our trucks and drive around looking for him. When the garage door opened I swore I heard him barking in the back yard, we look and call for him but no luck. TJ tells me it must have been the dog next door. We both grab our keys. He is going to head south and I am to head north and through the desert. I get in my truck and I can't help but think that I know I heard him in the back yard earlier. If anyone knows the sounds of their animals it is me! He is so small and I really think he is hiding somewhere back there. So, I know he will bark at my truck if he sees it and I roll all my windows down and drive around back on my way out. Sure enough, I get in the backyard and I hear him barking at my truck. I am looking and looking but can't see the little butthead although it sounds like he is up by the house at the north end. I pull up a bit and look, I finally spot him and now I am absolutely cracking up. I called TJ to tell him to come home as I found him, but I was laughing so hard I could hardly speak. Here is where we found him.

What we believe happened is that when TJ walked out with the gun he closed the main door but not the security door. The gun scared Dobie and he wanted in the house. TJ, not seeing him there reached around and closed the security door leaving him trapped between the two. Although is was a good and funny ending we truly were scared for the little guy and all my dogs are getting tags this week.
And that my friends is how I missed the first half of Race Day!!
Battle On TJ, Battle On

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Friday My Town Shoot Out - Relaxation

As usual the topic for this week brings me to my animals, imagine that, and it also for me brings to mind our property down south. For us we live down there but have to work in the Phoenix area, so true relaxation for us comes when we arrive "home" at "The Shack".

This is a picture of Shiner, TJ's Australian Cattle, dog taking a nap while we are on break from a ride down south. I would say he is relaxing.

This is Shiner and Okie (Shiner's son) on the ride home from down south. I guess too much relaxation makes one very tired or maybe it is too much horseback riding. Notice how they both have the entire back seat to themselves, spoiled little bums they are.

Wow, I found this picture of Leroy (he is on the left) he was my baby and passed from lung cancer 3 years ago. The dog on the right is my Mom's dog Magic who also has passed. This is a couch in my home office that mostly was used by the dogs as you can see.

TJ & I relaxing and riding at "The Shack". Cisco on left and Blue on the right. Awesome guys! Note the snow; we are at 4,700 ft. elevation there and yes we do get a bit of snow sometimes. Even us desert rats enjoy a bit of the white stuff once in a while. Heck, take a look at Cisco (left) he is so relaxed he is sleeping.

Last but not least TJ and I have always enjoyed spending time with our friends and in the past have had many a party at our home. This is one we had with the Goldfield Ghost Riders quite a few years ago. The "men" in the group are having a little competition to see who can cook the best dutch oven desert and the women were the judge. I can't remember who won but we sure did have a great time relaxing with all of our friends.