Chemo round 3 of 4 done!

Today I my 3rd of 4 rounds of chemo. As it stands my last one will be on January 20th!! Such major happy news! In the mean time I will be having blood work for the possible breast cancer gene mutation.  We do know that no matter what the possible “missing ovary” needs to be located and removed. Something is triggering this cancer and this is the best option to pursuit right now. I’m not looking forward to another surgery…but its better than just sitting her wondering when the next cancer will appear!

Baby Cailin is doing VERY well! We are so proud of Mary Beth and her mothering instincts! She is an amazing young woman! Cailin has grandpa wrapped around her little finger. Go figure! Even uncle David has been seen holding her!

Some new photos! These were taken at the hospital when she was about 1 day old.


I miss you, Buddy!

On December 16, 2008 there was a winter storm in Minnesota. We had the day off of school and work. The wind blew. The snow fell. The cold tried to creep into the house. But we were warm and cozy. Safe inside together around the fire blazing in the fireplace.

But the house was filled with sorrow. This was the day were to say good-bye to our beloved Basset hound Bullet. For 5 years he honored us with his grumpy presence. At an amazing 15 years old he was a miracle. Just a couple years before he lost the use of his back legs only to find the strength from within to walk again. Over time he lost that ability. Life became a struggle for my best friend. And this was the day. Storm or no storm….we had to love him to the fullest by letting him go…..

I didn’t go with. Couldn’t do it. I carried him to the van. Crying the whole way. You see, just 2 months before we suddenly lost our Bucksnort to cancer. How could I lose Bullet too? But it was only out of our love that we let him go. Perry and Mary Beth drove the 20 miles to the vet and cradled him in their locing arms as he quietly crossed to the bridge where he would be happy and whole again.

I sat at home crying….

Here is the video we made in honor of his 15th birthday in September 2008. I still miss him…my heart still aches for him anbd Bucksnort. Watch the video and know this is why we are so involved in Basse Rescue – it’s all for the love of the hounds!

Cool video “Greeting Card”

Target celebrates its home state with a Minnesota rendition of the 12 Days of Christmas, sung by VocalEssence, directed by Philip Brunelle.

Want the lyrics?? Here they are!!

Twelve trucks a-towing,
Eleven plastic Santas,
Ten thousand lakes,
Nine warming houses,
Eight skaters skating,
Seven Snoopy statues,
Six loons a-laying,
Five hours of sun,
Four Fargo jokes,
Three salt bags,
Two “ya, you betchas,”
and a giant cherry on a huge spoon!

I am SO LUCKY!!!

This past Thursday at the school we were having rehursals for the winter program with the kids in grade 1 – 8. I was sitting in my room talking to a parent when Dan (the administrator) came in and said “we need you in the gym.” Figuring it was to help monitor the kids (who tend to get a bit wiggly during rehursals) I go down….only to realize EVERYONE in the school was in there. OK, so sometimes I recall the kids in Children’s House (which is the Montessori “pre-school”) so not that unusual…until it hits me that they are all looking at ME. Hmmm…what is going on??

Denise was standing at the front of the gym with Dan holding a large bag. Inside it contained the most beautiful quilt that Denise and Sally had created….with the help from the kids! I can’t even begin to explain how wonderful it is!! And did I start crying? Of course I did! LOL After Denise gave her little speech….I had the honor of getting a grup hug from ALL of the children!

I am still speechless! There are photos of the kids from the school, photos of me, Snickers and my family! The kids at the school and staff signed it! There are no words to describe what it means to me!!

Pictures are the only way to explain it!

The centerpeice of the quilt
The quilt is full of pictures of the students and staff!
 Isn’t to AMAZING???
I can’t that everyone at MRS enough! Not only for this wonderful quilt….but for the never ending support and friendship! Kathy for helping me get my bandanna on each morning, Sally for the never ending supply of dinners and friendship. The kids for their constant hugs and keeping me smiling. Dina for just being Dina. Especially Char and Dan who have to deal with “me!” You guys know what I mean! And of course every single other person I have the honor of working with at the school. You guys have made the treatments and “other stuff” so much easier to tolerate!!

On Being Adopted

One of the frustrations I face right now is trying to find some information about my birth father. I have received some wonderful information about my birth mother and her family so this will be a HUGE help!! Thanks to Amy (my half-sister which is still kind of strange to say).

I did manage to get my birth father’s name – but have run into a BIG stone wall. He has either disappeared from the face of the earth or I do not have the spelling of the last name correct.

In the big picture it really will not change the immediate outcome of my genetic testing. Afterall, I get poked, blood is drawn and they test it. Breast cancer genes mutated? Yes or no. Period. What it WILL affect (based upon my minimal understanding of family history) is that if I am positive the girls will need to be tested and those outside my immediate family (as in siblings of my birth parents) will not know how they are possibly affected.

And again, with that little glimmer of knowledge I do kind of suspect IF I have a mutation of either of the bc genes it very may well be coming from my birth father’s side. Interesting concept, huh?

Today I signed up for the free 2 week trial of WOW did THAT bring back some really neat memories! When the girls were in middle school one of their assignments were to explore their family history. At the time we purchased the Family Tree Maker software and did a lot of research. I even reconnected with some of the family on my mom’s side (as in adoptive mom) who live in Wisconsin. Piles of information and documents came my way from Bernita! You would not believe how far back we were able to get! We took a few family trips to local cemetaries (kind of strange but we had a blast) and took photos of the head stones of our relatives to add. We ended up with a very thick three-ring binder full of photos and information! I even went and dug it out this evening to reminice. Too bad I lost the version on my computer! UGH!

But I digress….I signed up for the free trial to try to locate my birth father. Did everyting I could come up with and no luck. Checked military records, the social security death index …nada, nothing, zip!

So, I’m going to just be satisfied with the fact that I am lucky enough to have the info I need from my birth mother’s side and just go from there. Guess it’s HIS loss to not be found! Besides, I have a dad and really am not looking to appear on any of those goofy “help me find my family” TV shows. Good Lord! All I want is some updated info!

So, you all know I’ll keep digging, right? LOL Can’t let a sleeping dog lie (just ask Snickers and Bo). IF I find anyting I’ll be sure to give a holler!

Genetic Testing

I met with the genetic counselor yesterday afternoon to discuss my possible ability to qualify for genetic testing. It’s a go!

I technically have had 3 seperate cancer occurences. The first one being 11 years ago. The most recent were actually 2 different cancers thereby being numbers 2 and 3. Add that to the fact that I have had these before the age of 45 and that the newer tumors are estogen sensitive (I supposedly had my ovaries removed in 2000) it has been deemed inportant to try to figure out what the heck is going on!

I will mention that no matter what the outcome we will be determining if I have a hidden ovary (only one was found at the time of the hysterectomy) or where the possible left over ovarian tissue is. At this point I am very prone to an ovarian cancer which I don’t like the sounds of!!

The next step is the blood test. We’ll do it after the first of the year. If I test positive for being a mutant (LOL) then we need to figure out from where the mutant gene is coming from….maternal side or paternal side. This might prove to be a bit difficult considering I was adopted! Hmmm….might also be something very interesting! It really won’t affect me if I don’t find out. It would affect my kids and any possible siblings on whichever side the mutated gene is traveling.

Once I find out more you’ll be the first to know!

Baby Cailin photos

OK, don’t get excited! These are the ultra sound photos taken 9/11/2009. Considering she is due in less than a month I suspect she is a bit bigger!!! Enjoy!!

Tummy in the middle – head to the right.
Puffing up her chest – check out that itty bitty nose!
 Perfect picture of her hand! Looks like she is doing the “loser sign” to her momma! (As in NOT me – Mary Beth).
Great images of her little arms!
Mary Beth has her next appointment today at 11:30. This is when they will begin checking to see if she is dilating yet. Wow!

Side Effects

One of the lovely side effects of chemo is bowel issues. Yep! I’d say that is true! Last night I was hit with uncontrollable cramping (as in I was screaming for an epidural) which then triggered throwing up. After a couple hours it finally subsided enough for me to fall asleep. This morning I’m still cramping if I eat or drink and my stomach feels as if I was hit with a baseball bat. I guess this is what it feels like when one “works on their core,” huh? LOL Only time I’ll ever feel that!

Perry touched base with the on call doc last night who suspects it is something called Pseudomembranous Colitis. Because I wasn’t (and still am not) running a fever and not dehydrated they felt it best to stay put and not drive into the ER in the winter storm. THANK YOU!! I just wanted to be wrapped in my pillows, blankies and hounds and NOT go anywhere! Unless something changes within the next 24 hours we’ll just discuss this at my next appointment.

Today’s commands from the doc:  stay home, drink a billion gallons of water and avoid anything that might irritate my stomach. Guess I will call this my “snow day” and just play with the computer. Perry is home today just in case something happens and I need to go in….he is also going to take Mary Beth to her baby doc appointment later this afternoon.

Recipe! Enchilada Grande Casserole

On Saturday we tried out a great new addition to the comfort food favorites! Enchilada Grande Casserole! By the way, we double the recipe since we have some pretty big appetites. This is very quick and tastes great!!

1 pound lean ground beef
1 – 16 oz can refried beans
1 – 15 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 – 1 3/8 oz package enchilada sauce mix
8 – 7 to 8 inch flour tortillas
2 cups shredded cheddar or Mexican style cheese
Sour cream (optional for some)
Green onions (optional for some)

In a large pan brown hamburger and drain. Add the refried beans, tomato sauce, water, and enchilada sauce mix to the hamburger and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a greased cake pan layer half of the tortillas to cover the bottom. Add half of the meat mixture followed by 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layering the rest of the tortillas and the remaining meat mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree over. Add the remaining cheese and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving! Add sour cream and green onions as desired!

Next time we’re going to add fresh tomatoes in between the layers and as a garnish on top!! Let me know if you try it and like it!!