Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love

Family...the ones you live with, laugh with, and love
Summer 2009

Friday, February 26, 2010

My First Treatment

Yesterday I had my first chemotherapy treatment. I think the anxiety of waiting was the hardest part. The office had somehow forgot to put my next 2 appointments on the schedule so at first I was worried they wouldn't be able to do it. But then I was kind of hoping the receptionist would just say sorry we can't do it and I could escape back home, but they were able to work me in.

Having the port accessed was another worry of mine. Since my port is completely underneath the skin they still have to poke the needle through the skin. But to my surprise it didn't hurt at all. My nurse must have been very skilled.

The nurse then had me take my first anti nausea pill. They prescribed 3 pills total. Thank goodness for insurance because just for 3 pills it would have been $400 instead we paid $25. Ouch!

She first gave me the anti nausea medicine which I was relieved since I know nausea is one of the biggest side effects. One which I really don't want to experience. In between treatments they would flush the line a little with saline. Then they gave me the first chemo drug. It wasn't too bad. The worst part was a sinus headache that came on quickly and stayed until the drug was completely administered. Then they gave me the drug the nurses have named "the red devil". The nurse had to push this drug over 10 minutes. They watch you very closely for reactions. Thank goodness I didn't have any. This is the drug that is very harsh. The nurse compared it to battery acid. It is also the one that kills all the rapid cells in the body. For instance red and white blood cells, the hair follicles and something to do with the esophagus.

The nurse then went over all the side effects I would most likely experience. So far it hasn't been too bad. Last night I was very nauseated so I didn't sleep well. I don't remember the last time I had to sleep with a bucket next to my bed. This morning I feel a little better. Mostly just tired. Today I will also need to go in and get a shot to boost the white blood count back up. Again thank goodness for insurance. This shot is $5000 each and I will have 8 total over the course of chemo. Yes cancer is very expensive! I assume within the next week or so my hair will start falling out. I am prepared now. It is just another hurdle that needs to be crossed in order to recover.

Thank you again for all the phone calls, cards, facebook posts, meals, gifts from all of you. I love you all!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I am so blessed

One day I came home from school and Steve told me to go look in our bedroom. To my surprise he had been saving all the cards and letters we have received the past several weeks from so many people. He had taped them to the wall next to the bed. Not my choice in decor, but what a sweet gesture. I was so touched. He had also printed a whole bunch of positive sayings. He said. "I know during chemo you will be sick in bed a lot and I thought these things may cheer you up to look at." He was right. I was looking at them just today and realized how blessed I truly am. I have so many people praying for me. So many people helping me. So many people just giving me that extra support I need. So many people making dinner for us, buying us things. How can I ever repay everyone? I know that when I beat this, that someday I may need to return the favor for someone else, to look for ways to help others around me. I know that helping and serving others is the best way to feel closer to the Lord.

So if you are one of those, which all of you are, thank you so much for all you have done for my family. It is appreciated so much. We thank the Lord everyday for so many caring people sent to us to help us. We love each and every one of you!

Things must really happen in 3's

I have heard many times in my life that "bad" things can happen in 3's, I guess they really do.

1) Steve losing his job
2) I find out I have breast cancer
3) Losing my dear sweet Grandma Schiffman yesterday evening

I guess the hardest part is that all of this has happened within 3 months of each other. It has been a hard 3 months, but we are holding our heads up high, smiling and trying to stay positive.
I am so happy I was able to spend some one on one time with her just a week before. We chatted and I told her that I loved her. I will cherish all the memories I have with my grandma.

I said I would look for the positive in all trials. I know the positive is that my grandma is in a better place. She is with my loving grandpa, her parents. her daughter and so many other loved ones. We will all miss her so much.

I have chemotherapy scheduled for Thursday. I just hope I will feel well enough to attend the funeral. Attitude is everything right? I can do this!!

"Together Forever"
Beth R. Schiffman
OGDEN – Our loving mother, Beth Rallison Schiffman, 83, passed away on Monday, February 22, 2010 surrounded by her family at McKay-Dee Hospital.
Beth was born in Preston, Idaho to Cley Hull and Ida May Ellis Rallison on April 16, 1926. Beth was raised in Preston moving to Ogden, Utah in 1941. Beth graduated from Ogden High School in 1944.
She married Glen H. Schiffman on June 14, 1944 in Salt Lake City. Their marriage was solemnized April 18, 1963 in the Logan LDS Temple. Together, they raised four children. Glen died October 16, 2007.
Beth worked at the Internal Revenue Service and retired after 15 years of service. She enjoyed the many friendships she had with the “girls” from IRS.
She was faithful member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. She recently became active in the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers.
Beth took great pride in her home and her yard. Her hobbies included genealogy, scrap booking, and shopping. Together, Beth and Glen enjoyed square dancing with the Whitney Whirlers in their earlier years. She enjoyed baking cookies and was a wonderful hostess.
Beth is survived by her children, LuAnn (Andrew) Kellett, West Haven; Alan (Debra) Schiffman, Ogden; Janice (Tom) Buck, South West, WY; 15 grandchildren, 37 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
She is also survived by her sister, Joann (Emmett) Trudel of Layton.
Preceding Beth in death were her husband, her parents, her brother, Blaine and her daughter, Karen S. Ball.
The family would like to thank the staffs at McKay-Dee Hospital, Crestwood Care Center, and Julie Lee for their loving support.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 11 a.m. at Lindquist’s Ogden Mortuary, 3408 Washington Blvd.
Friends may call at the mortuary on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m. and Monday 9:45 to 10:45 a.m.
Interment, Lindquist’s Washington Heights Memorial Park, 4500 Washington Blvd.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bitter Trials

I really like the quote "What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessing in disguise." I have really thought about the bitter trials I have been faced with in the last few months and I now realize that some are actual blessings. Last December we faced the first of our trials as a family. Steve was laid off from his job. Yeah I know! What a huge trial to face. We thought so too. For most people that is big enough, but no we have to have 2 major trials. Looking back I know for a fact that Heavenly Father knew that I would need my dear husband here by my side holding my hand, taking care of me. He also knew that with Steve being home my stress level would go down. I am able to cope with things better. I know one thing for sure, I am really getting spoiled. I haven't done laundry in 3 months! I know you are all is wonderful!

I realize also that Heavenly Father sent my student teacher. Last summer my good friend, who was also my past neighbor, called me about being my student teacher. Usually you can't pick who you have to student teach in your class. It is assigned by the district office. However I went ahead and asked my principal and she made it happen. Angie started January 5th. I was diagnosed January 20th. Coincidence...I don't think so. It was again Heavenly Father sending me a support system I truly need right now. There are many days at school I would break down in tears. I still do, Angie is there to step in. All this time I have to be away from my dear little first graders, Angie is there to love them as much as I would. I know for a fact she was sent to me to help me through this trial. Again a blessing in disguise. So now when I am faced with a trial I am going to look for the blessings that come from it!
A friend of mine also gave me this quote by Richard G. Scott that I like. "When trials are not consequences of our disobedience, they are evidence the Lord feels we are prepared to grow more."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The treatments are starting

Yesterday Steve and I met with 2 doctors. First we met with my surgeon, Dr. Alder. He did a quick check to make sure the incisions are healing well, which they are. He told me they usually wait 2-3 weeks after surgery to start chemo. I was a little relieved. My incisions are still very tender and my port is very bruised. I am emotionally not ready to start yet. He also went over the sentinel node biopsy results with us. During surgery he had removed a total of 3 nodes and 1 out of 3 showed tumor. He felt that this was great news, he said he was expecting more because of the size of the tumor. I however felt that this was more bad news. What this means is that the cancer has spread outside of the area into the lymph nodes. Once it gets into the lymph nodes it can easily spread to other areas of the body. And this also means that he will have to remove all the nodes in that area. It sounds very painful to me. I was hoping for one less surgery. Radiation will also be a must now that the nodes are involved. We asked what stage he felt it was at, he said stage 2.
We also met with my oncologist, Dr. Gray. He was very nice. He went over all my test results. He said they all look very good. There is just one they are a little concerned about. My CT scan showed a spot on my right lung the size of a grain of sand. He said it is too small to biopsy or to use the PET scan on so there is really no way to tell what it is. I will need to do a follow up CT scan in a few months to see if this area has changed or if it has disappeared. He also said that he felt the cancer was at a stage 3. I'm not sure which doctor to believe, the surgeon or the oncologist. I think I like the sound of stage 2 better.
We then talked about starting treatment. He asked me if I wanted to start tomorrow and I responded with a strong, "NO!" I need a few more days to process all of this and to prepare myself emotionally. I was also a little surprised since the surgeon had told me a least 2 weeks. So treatment will begin next Thursday, February 25. I was also little disappointed at this appointment because he originally told me it would be 4-5 rounds of chemo, it is now 8 rounds every 3 weeks. So the next 24 weeks of my life I will be dealing with chemotherapy. Ugh!! It also means surgery is now pushed back 2 more months. I keep asking myself how I will do all of this. Especially radiation which will be everyday for 6 weeks. I just don't know how I will be able to do all of this with 3 young kids. I just have to take it one day at a time. I know I couldn't do this without the support from my wonderful husband. He is so patient with me. I have many emotional days and he always listens to my rants. He lets me cry on his shoulder. He keeps everything running so smoothly at our home. I am so lucky to have such a wonderful man to love and support me through this trial in my life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Maddie's 6th Birthday

Today is my sweet baby daughter's birthday. She has been counting down the days. I feel badly that I am not feeling myself. She is being such a good sport about everything. We decided not to do a friend party considering all that is going on. She said she just wants to invite her friend Demi over and go play at McDonald's. So that is what we will do tomorrow. The kids all had Valentine parties at school today so she did get to have some sort of party. My family came over and we sang Happy Birthday and we ate cake. It was a happy day. I still remember 6 years ago going to the hospital to have her. She is my sweet little valentine. Happy Birthday Maddie!
I had the echo cardiogram today also. My heart is strong and healthy for chemo. Next Wednesday I have a follow up with the surgeon and I also have an appointment with my oncologist. He will decide when to start chemo. I have a feeling it will be the end of this week.
Right now I am very nervous. I still wonder how I will do this and still try to function as a mom, wife, teacher?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Surgery went well

Tuesday I went to the hospital for my surgery. I was very nervous despite the fact so many people told me that this surgery is no big deal. Surgery to me is always a big deal. We had to be at the hospital at 8am so it was an early morning trying to get the kids to my mom's house so she could take them to school. Good thing for grandma living pretty close. I don't know what I would do without her.
Most of the day we spent just waiting for the doctor. It seems like waiting is always the hardest part. Around 10:30am he came and injected a radioactive tracer that would be used for the biopsy. We had to let the tracer circulate for 2 hours, so more waiting. At 1:00pm I was finally taken back for surgery. I was so happy I was asleep for all of it. I don't like knowing what the doctors are doing. The surgery lasted for about 1 1/2 hours. I remember waking up around 3pm asking for my husband. I also had such a sore throat from the tube during anesthesia. Everything went well. The doctor had placed the port and removed 3 lymph nodes. But ouch I am sore! Sore on the right from the biopsy incision and sore on the left from the port incision. Good thing for pain medication. I stayed in recovery for a few more hours and then went home that evening around 7:30 pm. It has been a long, hard week. I never thought it would take so much out of me. Our ward has been so kind bringing in meals. My mom has been so good helping with the kids. Steve has been the best husband ever doing everything for me. I am very lucky. Tomorrow I have an echo cardiogram scheduled to make sure my heart is strong enough for chemo. It is also Maddie's 6th birthday. I never thought this is how we would be spending her birthday.

Friday, February 5, 2010

More tests

Had the CT scan and bone scan this week. The tests came back with no areas of concern. Just an area on my kidney and lung that they don't think is cancer. Probably scar tissue from being sick. I was very happy with the news. The BRCA test results also came back and it was negative which means it is not hereditary. I was also happy about this news. I was so afraid for my children and my sisters if it were genetic. That would mean bad things could happen to them as well. So this week was a good week.

My mom is taking me to Salt Lake this weekend to look for wigs...don't know how I feel about that right now. I don't think reality has hit yet. Right now I am just preparing myself for the upcoming surgery hoping I don't have to have any more tests for a while.