Friday, August 24, 2007

God is Good and He Answers Prayers!!

Last week, the teachers at our school started back, with all the feeling of running around in circles, and 'where should I start first?', unpacking boxes of fresh new books and cleaning desks/bookcases/blackboards. A week ago Friday I had a CAT scan. Now keep in mind that the last CAT scan in June showed the tumors in my abdomen had doubled in size, and had spread to my neck and clavicle. So I was mildly worried about what this scan would reveal. Yesterday D and I had a meeting with our Dr. V, who showed us my new scan -- and the tumors in my abdomen are practically gone. The ones in my neck/clavicle have shrunk some also. He is now predicting a complete or almost complete remission! The only new wrinkle is that apparently I have pneumonia????? I have had pneumonia many times over the last ten years due to my immunosuppressive problems, but usually then I, sneezing, feverish, chest hurting, etc. Now I have absolutely no symptoms, but he put me on antibiotics to make sure. Oh well. And then I had my FOURTH chemo today -- went very well, but I'm very tired.
I have to share about something at school that has rocked my world. One of the seniors, a sweet girl I have known since she was in kindergarten, proposed that every Friday be Official Mrs. R hat/doo-rag Day. In our little Christian school, there is a strict dress code, and that includes NO HEADGEAR. But, now, every Friday, you can pay $1 and get to wear a hat/doo-rag all day. And the real heart-kicker? All the money raised goes to us, to offset bills. These kids are so great -- that's one reason I'm back full time. Who else has three hundred people always rooting for them, and telling them that they look great -- "a really nice spherical head" ;) was one person's comment. All in all I feel blessed, and charged up. I WILL BE AT SCHOOL MONDAY RARIN' TO GO. No IF'S, AND'S OR BUT'S. Be ready.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Is this real life or what??


Tomorrow at 9 am I will be officially be back at work. Of course, the morning will be taken up with meetings and announcements, then it's back to my old faithful classroom. I'm in the night-before buzz, with my brain swirling around all the things I need to take back to the school (my bamboo, my philodendron, my FAN), and the box of books and papers I've been working on the last month for my German and theater classes. There's always that little voice in the back of your head that makes you think you're forgetting something important...something verrrry important...
Our little Christian school is very blessed in that we have air-conditioning, which in this midwest heat wave, is a very good thing indeed. And almost two weeks out from chemo, I'm hoping I do good -- no shakes, no sweats. I have the most amazing teacher and administration support there -- everyone has been praying for me since before I was diagnosed, and are helping me keep teaching in every way possible.
Random any of you pick up accents of people that you talk to? I fight constantly not to pick up accents, maybe because when I was very small, I had a Louisiana nanny, which meant that I started kindergarten talking like I had been born and bred in the deep South. Well, then I changed to sound just like the others around me at school, except in the summers when I would visit my redneck relatives, and the little old German Mennonite ladies, who would speak a mangled German/English in town. I guess I've confused my brain so much it doesn't know what accent it is supposed to have anymore. Other people I've been around don't have this problem, and I'm wondering if it is my wierd upbringing.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

One prednisone and I'm done for this round!

This morning I take my last prednisone for this round, and am I glad! Maybe I can get some normal tastebuds back for a while. This round, I must say, has been the easiest, and I say that with much trepidation, because I can't help feeling that once I say that, my withdrawal will be horrendous. A doctor at our church last week said that coming off the prednisone was like PMS to the extreme, or post-partum depression. It really can mess with your perceptions of how your life is going, or what that person that just made that remark REALLY MEANT.
A lot of little weirdnesses with this round: a perpetually runny nose, and drippy eyes, and my fingernails are dry and ridged. I hope I don't lose my fingernails -- I think that would be the absolute pits, but it is one of the side effects with this Red Devil I take.
I drank more milk with this round, and I think that helped keep down the acid reflux stuff, and...this sounds nuts, but I worked on beading everyday, and I think that helped. You would think that if some meds are making me jittery and nervous, the LAST thing I would want to do is fiddle with teeny tiny beads and crimps and beading needles. But it is something I can do for a few minutes, then put it down and walk away, and come back. I really have slept better this time, and not had the zombieness of the times before. This is the first time I've made a concerted effort to get back to the beading since some punk stole my entire inventory of jewelry, but I'm making progress.
I will be having a CAT scan at the end of next week -- please pray that it will show a lot of progress in beating this cancer.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Yeah, Decatur Celebration!

We have a huge street festival here, with hundreds of booths and music and oodles of food, and I haven't missed it one time since it started. So when I realized I would have chemo on Friday, and the Celebration was on Saturday, I was determined to go, if only for a while. J was marching in a band, playing his shiny baritone, and several of our nieces and a nephew were also marching, so we went to the parade and cheered and whistled at embarrassed teenagers.
We walked around and bought lemon shake-ups and sundaes and chicken on a stick. I always buy interesting things for the classroom, so I bought a clay ocarina and a walking stick with a morel mushroom carved in the top. Didn't see the didgeridoo stand we bought two from last year, but there were lots of frogs that chirp when you rub the wooden stick across the ridges on their backs. I have lots in my room, from previous years, and the kids love them. Only a few have managed to conquer the didgeridoo, but they love to try.
It's Sunday, and I'm still pretty well doing okay. That's a good thing. God is good, and He continues to bless. Thank you all for your continued prayers -- I can see His Hands in this journey.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

It's time to smell the crayons

Now that all of my kids are in middle school or high school, I kind of miss the intensive back to school shopping: scissors, crayons, lunch box, markers. We would always come home and dump everything in the middle of the living room floor to divvy out, labeling everything carefully in black Sharpie. Ah, the smell of a brand new box of crayons, or the sleekness of new pencils, and the pink rubberiness of clean erasers. The potential! The possibilities! Now K buys her own supplies, which our bank account is grateful for, and the other two are old enough that it is NOT COOL to have your name on it's not as fun anymore. J just glanced at the messenger bag I bought him (to his specifications). Doesn't he realize you're supposed to open all the zippers, and feel in all the little pockets?? I know, I'm easily amused. I did buy myself some new pens in luscious I just have to hide them away from the kids, mine and the ones at school.