"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.



Friday, November 7, 2014

Stomach Cancer Awareness

November is Stomach Cancer Awareness Month


Chemo Starts




















On Wednesday Mom began her chemo treatment. She was in the clinic for about 7 hours getting the desensitization protocol. This means that her body was previously rejecting one of the chemo drugs so they infuse it through her port very slow over a long period of time to trick the body. We were very worried about this working but the oncologists had success with other patients and seemed to suggest that it was a common occurrence. Thank goodness it worked but it was a very long day! She was sent home with a 48 hour pump for the final chemo drug called 5-FU. I don't mind calling that drug by its abbreviated name. ((This process will repeat every-other Wednesday)).

Yesterday she was out of bed and finishing a quilting project for a client; but today is pretty rough and nausea has set in. She's at the clinic now getting the pump removed. We're anxiously holding our breath over these next few days as the post-chemo symptoms begin to show. It's nothing she hasn't been through before but you're never ready for it.

She's so brave and the strongest little fighter! This doesn't mean it's easy but sometimes she has a way of making it look easy! The family also needs your support, encouragement and love. As life must go on we all have to help each other through these difficult days. Please continue to keep us in your heart, thoughts and prayers. We appreciate you all so much. Just knowing you are here and care helps more than you can imagine! Love and Sunshine to you all today, Thank you for following our journey!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

November Begins



It's another November as we remember when Mom was first diagnosed 6 years ago this month. We've been so thankful for each day of  life together and making memories to treasure forever. I've always appreciated her strength and faith during such a difficult journey of the unknown future, scary prognosis and aggressive cancer to face. She's inspired and encouraged our family and so many others. It can't help but move your heart and emotions when you hear her story and all she's been through. I feel so proud and encouraged by her always. Looking back, one of the most courageous statements she made was during a family meeting where she firmly begged us, "No matter what happens to me, please never blame God my cancer or the challenges we face. " It reminds me of one of my favorite verses that is so helpful to share with anyone going through difficult times in their lives.

When under trial, let no one say: “I am being tried by God.” For with evil things God cannot be tried, nor does he himself try anyone. -James 1:13

Her chemo beings today with a 48-hour pump of the 5-Fu chemo drug followed by the chemo cocktail to be repeated every 2 weeks.  We're taking one day at a time and keeping positive each step of the way.  It's going to be hard and Mom will need your love and support in her fight for life.  She's beautiful, young and active with a strong desire to continue her happy life to live. May we continue this fight with all of your continued love, prayers, support and positive thoughts of encouragement. 

Love Always!


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hurry and Wait




















Mom got some bad news Friday night that she most likely will have to postpone chemo tomorrow due to a "possible bacteria found" on a slide taken from a scan. I'm shy on details and don't clearly understand but didn't ask questions. Mom was extremely frustrated; even in translating the news back to us seemed to make it worse. Today we found out she's actually negative for the bacteria/possible infection and it was a contaminate from the lab. But she still might have to be "officially" clear for 2 weeks before chemo can begin. It's ridiculous and she's already assigned her team of doctors on the case. She's simply not happy because she was pumped and mentally ready to start again, now she can't. Cancer treatment is urgent so you can imagine the frustration.


Hanging in there. Taking it one day at a time. Please send love her way! Thanks for checking in and for your continued love and support.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Again?

It's one of many sleepless nights. My heart is racing and brain is spinning. I know that I can't sleep until I write my promised post. The update about Mom's upcoming treatments. These words alone are shocking enough. It hasn't been enough time yet. We aren't ready to start more chemo, but we have no choice. The good news is that Mom still does have choices! We find gratitude to fight on and make the best choices that we can!

I found myself peering through medical text about Fluorouracil, Leucovorin, Irinotecan, Docetaxel, and chemo desensitization. As if I know what I'm looking for like I'll find a hidden treasure or some answer we've been searching for. It can consume and frustrate me regardless of all that I know it's the harsh reality of the situation that hurts. I'm not the doctor but no doctor cares about my Mom as much as I do.  Therefore, I continue my search because maybe I'm just trying to process this next battle plan.

So it begins, again. It's been almost 6 years this coming November. It's always a difficult time of year for me. I get flashbacks and feel a pattern setting in during the cold winter months of Mom's past treatments. I'm thousands of miles alway yet I'm right there with her. Mom's fight is still going strong and she's getting ready for more treatments. This time the rumor is every 2 weeks for another 6 months or as long and she can keep pace. Since her fight began in 2008 all doctors agree that her chemo regiment has been hardcore. She pulls through and it's not easy, but she's here to enjoy another day!

This upcoming treatment will be very rough and it begins the week of October 20th just after her kidney stents are changed the previous week. Her recent PET scan shows no changes which is good news that things aren't getting worse and the baseline has been established. 

I posted this picture because it shows Mom taking a break from running errands. She needed to rest and warm up in the sun. Trying so hard but I can see she's in pain and tired...
All this may be true but there's no stopping Kerry Lou!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Watch the Sunset

For as long as I can remember one of Mom's favorite things is to watch the sunset.  It's hard not to think of each other when we see a sunset or a beautiful moon rising.  We're in the habit of texting or calling each other when we see one that really takes our breath away.  Once Mom took a photo of the full moon from her view in IL and I took one from my view in AZ and we shared the moment together.  It was pretty cool and I love that about her.  She's always taught me to have fun and to take the time to appreciate the beautiful creation around us.  I'm counting down the days until I come visit next... 9 more days until we can watch another beautiful sunset together.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Changes






















Life changes like the direction of the wind... I couldn't sleep the other night and found myself searching for inspirational images, quotes and cancer support related articles.  In preparation for this update it takes thought and time to process the emotions and information.

During our recent family vacation Mom brought to my attention a lump near her tailbone.  I could tell that she was worried and didn't want to spoil the moment; but she knows it's important to keep pace with her health and listen to her body on a regular basis.

We certainly found relief with the most recent scan reported as stable with approval for a chemo-vacation.  It was a big fear to go back on chemo so soon after just completing 6 months.  I knew that Mom was worried in general and especially about the new lump.  I'm not sure why it was missed in the recent scan, but I'm glad we took a deeper look.  The oncologist believes it to be cancer and there was talk about starting chemo with radiation.  Mom went to visit the radiologist yesterday and they decided to use radiation Monday - Friday for 2 1/2 weeks to target this 1 1/2 inch area.  Most likely chemo treatment will follow radiation.  We'll know more after the next oncology appointment on 25th and will keep you updated!

Mom is the strongest, most beautiful and determined little fighter that I will ever know and I feel so blessed that I have the privilege of being her daughter.  The fight continues ...

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Much to Share

August was busy and action packed!

We celebrated Mom completing her 6 month chemo treatment and good news with her most recent full body scan.  Things are stable and she's currently enjoying a chemo-vacation!  I think one of the main things to help her get through the horrible cold winter and extremely difficult treatment was having a family vacation to look forward to!

In April the plans started coming together and everyone was a little nervous about driving down to Florida with a teenager, 6 month old, toddler and 6 adults. They made perfect timing picking me up at the airport in Tampa.  We enjoyed 3 amazing nights in Florida before getting back in the van for another adventure up to the Chattanooga mountains for our final 3 nights.  Mom, the kids and now 7 adults all did amazing!  We  had such a wonderful and memorable time together!  It was truly the very best family vacation ever!  I think we're all still wishing we could go back!  Until the next time we are all together we have some pretty wonderful memories to hold close to our hearts!




Sunday, July 6, 2014

Go Bananas!

























Go Bananas, it's Summa Time!  We're counting down the days until our Family Beach Trip.  It's going to be an action packed adventure!  Even if it means the family riding down to Florida in a Van.  Mom are you still serious about that announcement you made April 1st?  Is this a joke?  
Just kidding - it's going to be GREAT! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Final Round Chemo-UP

























Happy June!

It's flying by and Mom's getting ready for the FINAL ROUND of treatment coming up! We've been counting down this 6 month series since day one of the first treatments. You can't help but stare in fear at the long road ahead - yet make plans for something to look forward to! So it's down to one more round and we play the waiting game. You know the drill! It's worth it! Mom's breaking records everyday and fights so hard to live in this world that rips the rest of us apart on a regular basis. Each one has a battle - but I can't help to compare all of my petty complaints to what Mom's dealing with. It really keeps things in perspective and leaves me feeling grateful and stronger because of her example.

Love you, To the Moon and Back again, times Infinity!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Missed May

















I missed May!  I've been writing at least 1 post every single month since Mom was diagnosed in November of 2008.  I think this is good news to report!  She's staying strong and fighting hard!  I'll be on a plane in 9 hours and I'm so excited to hug my Mom again, watch her laugh and smile.  We enjoy our time together so much!  Will be keeping you posted!  I'm so sorry that I missed May, but Happy June!

Love & Hugs, 
Jess

Sunday, April 27, 2014

April?



















Hello April?  It's almost over!  Where has the time gone? Summer is finally around the corner as I know my Illinois folks have been patiently waiting for some warmer weather.  Mom does so much better with her sunshine!  She really pushes herself to keep active and enjoys soaking up the healing sun between treatments.

She's hanging on and fighting every day.  People always ask how she is doing and honestly given her situation she does appear to be doing very good.  I know she doesn't feel very good.  It's a very fine emotional balance of getting the right amount of sympathy (so you don't feel that others are ignoring your situation) and getting encouragement or positive reinforcement even though your situation is not ideal.  Did I explain that right?  It might be difficult for me to explain but when Mom talks to me about it I understand her completely.  She wants to live as if she doesn't have cancer but she still needs sympathy and encouragement.

Thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts, love and hugs! We thank you again for stopping by to see how things are going!  I'll write again soon!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rough Road




















It's been a very Rough Road since Mom began her chemotherapy in January.
Each time is more difficult on her mentally and physically.   Please keep Mom/Kerry in your thoughts and prayers.  She needs prayers of comfort and strength to get through this very difficult road ahead.  We love her and will support her every step of the way... I know you feel the same!

Please post a comment, share a story or an inspirational photo or quote.

Love Always,
The Kids

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Cure



We might not have a cure for Mom's cancer but there are other things that soothe the soul.
I just wish we could spend more time together without life getting in the way. Let yourself feel the emotions because you learn from them and you realize what's truly important in life. So I'll leave you with my favorite quote to ponder.

'Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.'

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Missing Arizona

Home is where the Heart is... I think Mom left a little piece in Arizona. We had such an amazing time together! I still feel like it was just the other day and I miss her being here so much. Our special 10 days together was much needed away from normal life and worries. She came between radiation and chemo to relax and recuperate before treatments begin again. Words can not even describe how strong and determined she is. However, even the strongest people need an extreme amount of support and encouragement often. It's not easy. I could tell that her visit was not a walk in the park, but she pushed herself in good ways to enjoy herself. Just like she pushes herself to try and get out of bed each day and walk into the treatment room. It also took patience, love and encouragement on my part to help her get through some days. I wish I was there with her and look forward to seeing her again soon. I'll share a few of my favorite photos for you. Please continue to keep Mom in your thoughts and prayers but more important please let her know! Thank you so much!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sunshine time!


Mom finished her 25 days of radiation with chemo like a champ! She had a follow up scan done which revealed another area needing treatment. This confirms that long term chemo will be required. She's on board and ready to fight, but her oncologist suggested a 2nd opinion to confirm & brainstorm. Since we're making history why not! Mom is a 5 year stage 4 gastric cancer fighter! Today she met with an oncologist at Barnes in St. Louis who suggested trying a different form of long term chemo with the 5FU. Since her first treatments she's always used a three-chemo blend of very strong treatments. They suggested combining the 5FU with drugs. Maybe this will be the change she needs to keep the spread silent. The previously removed tumor/gallbladder will be tested with these drugs to determine absolute effectiveness. The doctors will talk and plan while Mom comes to visit me, finally! I can't wait to hug my Momma very soon! 

We'll keep you posted!

Love, Jess