Friday, February 17, 2017

My sister is doing a fundraiser to help while we are in Texas.

https://pamperedchef.com/go/SupportShannon

Monday, January 9, 2017

what if the pre-meds don't work

Oh it has been a nice few days.  My last appointment was Saturday for bloodwork.  She got the preliminary results back and it showed definite effects from the medicine.  What exactly does that mean, no clue.  I just know they are happy with the decision to treat me as an inpatient for my next dose of the drug on Wednesday.  If they are happy, I am happy.  Slightly nervous but happy.  Okay really nervous.  Logically I know they are going to pre-medicate me for this dose so it shouldn't be like it was last week but in the back of my mind I have a billion what if's going on.

I won't go into all of them but they kind of go like this:  what if the pre-meds don't work, what if the pre-meds don't work, what if the pre-meds don't work.  Okay, one what if.  Then I have a bunch of things that come after the what if.  What if the pre-meds don't work and the reaction to the drug is stronger than it was last time?  What if the pre-meds don't work and I die?  What if the pre-meds don't work and I die?  What if the pre-meds don't work and I die?  You get the picture I'm sure. 

I know I have made it clear on this blog that I am not ready to die nor will I ever be.  At least I don't think I will.  As long as I have Madisyn I will never be ready.  Sometimes I think, once she graduates from high school it will be okay if I pass.  Then I think, she will need me even more once she starts college.  Then I see people post how much they miss their parents and even the thought of losing mine sends me into a frenzy, so I think never.  I will never be comfortable leaving.  I think of all the people I have lost along the way who had kids and think, well they did it.  Of course I know we do not get the option to choose when our time happens.  But I would like to think I will be ready for it.  Prepared.  I want to be one of those people who wants to meet Jesus so bad they just can't wait for the day.  But I am not.  Does this make me a bad person?  I think it makes me human.  I think it makes me honest.  But a bad person?  Non Christianlike?  Judge me if you want, but just so you know, your judgement doesn't matter to me.  Until you are in my shoes, you don't know.  Only His judgement matters and we don't know until we get there how he feels about cancer and facing death.

Now I know you probably weren't judging me to begin with but I went on a tangent anyways.  Had to get it out. 

Big shout out to Casey for taking care of Madisyn while I am gone!  Thanks so much for always being there for me! 

So what if...I guess we shall see.  I go inpatient Tuesday for treatment Wednesday at 12:35. 

Oh and here is my address here:

Shannon McAlister Bridges
c/o Dan's House of Hope
4917 Jackson St.
Houston, TX  77004

xoxoxo,

Shannon

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Immunostorm

Monday me and mom headed off to Houston.  I said my goodbye to Madisyn bright and early at
6 a.m.  It was bittersweet.  We have talked everyday since.  I miss her everyday.  I miss home. 

But in brighter news the place we are staying at is wonderful.  I only have spent one night there so far but it was great.  Mom seems to like it too. 

I guess what I need to talk about is the treatment I started yesterday.  I started the treatment and finished it with no problems.  But soon after I started shaking uncontrollably.  They put tons of warm blankets on me, gave me some meds and it calmed down.  Then as soon as that wore off it started all over again.  Then they gave me some Tylenol and after that dose they went away.  Because of the way my body was shaking I was in a lot of pain from a stiffness in my back and my tumor in my hip, and my shoulders always are in pain, one side from a tumor, the other who knows.  So I was given meds for the pain.  Then I was given my regular meds.  All this happened over a couple hours.  So fast forward a little bit and they come and check my temp, o2 level, and blood pressure and everything is off.  I have a temp, lower o2 level, and low blood pressure.  I was immediately put on oxygen and my bed lowered to where my head is towards the ground to get blood rushing to my brain.  I was given a steroid and a rush of fluids, on top of the fluids I was already receiving because of low magnesium.  So much happened all at once and over a long period of time I can't even describe it.  The room was full with people and I couldn't keep up with what all was going on.  But good news is eventually fever went down, and blood pressure went up.

It could be what's called an Immunostorm (the blood pressure problem) or it could have been a result of the meds that were given to me.  The fever most likely was the Immunostorm.  There were no infections found in any of the cultures taken.  What this means for the rest of my treatment period, I'm not sure completely.  I know next week I will have to be admitted again for treatment (was supposed to be outpatient) and given pre meds.  Hopefully this will stop this from happening again.  Oh but yesterday was a long, long day.

Today has been boring long.  I was supposed to be released today but because of the situation last night they are keeping me for observation.  I have done nothing but eat, sleep, and watch TV. 

I have had visitors though and that makes me happy!  My aunt and uncle came, but at a bad time. Right after I had the shakes and right before I had them again.  So I was a little out of it.  I had two ladies from an online support group for metastatic breast cancer come yesterday and another today.  It's been great!

Well that's about it for now, I will try to keep you posted, on here, on facebook, or by friends.  Oh yeah my friend set up a gofundme account for this trip to Houston, so we can go back and forth to visit Madisyn, food, etc,  It's https://www.gofundme.com/shannons-supporters
xoxoxo.

Shannon

Sunday, January 1, 2017

bad news on the tumor front

Happy New Year!  Bye bye 2016 Hello 2017!

I don't have much to talk about.  I leave tomorrow for Houston.  I am ready for this to start and I am ready to not have to do this.  Catch 22.  Want to live, don't want to do the treatment for it.  What's a girl to do but do the treatment.  I will miss Madisyn and I hate leaving her but I know she is in good hands.  She has Casey, my dad, my sisters and brothers in law, Casey's girlfriend, all looking out for her while I am gone.  So I don't need to worry.  Although there is no part of me not worrying. 

Good news on the place to stay situation!  We found a place in Houston in the Museum District, strictly for young adults ages 18-39 that lets you stay for free!  Kind of like a bed and breakfast type place.  It is called Dan's House of Hope.  So excited that they had an opening!  No need to stay at my brother's house in Cypress and make that drive all the time.  Just ten minutes from the hospital depending on traffic.  Excitement! God is taking care of all the little details.

Bad news on the tumor front.  I had another PET scan and the results came back, the tumor on my hip is bigger and brighter.  Makes sense because I have started to feel it, to the point where I had trouble walking when it got cold.  I have been walking two miles a day and suddenly I could barely make it inside from the porch outside.  No fun.  I am scared I will end up back in a wheelchair for this.  I'm worried that I may need to bring the wheelchair and there is no room in the car for it.  So much stuff has my anxiety out of control.  Debilitating almost. 

Good news is my lung tumors are stable since November 9th.  They haven't grown since the last scan and I have been off treatment for this month and a half, almost two months.  So I am happy about that. 

Told you I didn't have much to say. 

Lots of Love,

Shannon

Friday, December 23, 2016

Six weeks at a time

Hey to All,

So it is Christmastime again.  I was not really looking forward to Christmas this year.  Well, I did start buying Christmas in October and was finished by December pretty much except for Madisyn.  But still, I was gloomy and grouchy when it came to the thought of Christmas. 

Why?  Well I was supposed to start a new chemotherapy drug December 13th.  A pretty harsh drug that was going to kick my butt.  And the very last of treatments available to me through the FDA.  I was hopeful and realistic at the same time.  There is a very real possibility that this will be my last Christmas.  I know, I have thought that every year for a while but with the way the cancer is spreading now, it is realistic.  If treatment didn't work I would be left to just let the cancer grow.  Not a happy Christmas thought.

All that changed on December 7th when I got an email from the Phase One Research Trial doctor.  They had found a trial that I qualified for.  I would need to return as soon as possible to sign the paperwork and get pre testing done.  I was scheduled for surgery December 8th and had appointments all the following week locally so December 21st and 22nd it would have to be.  My surgery went fine by the way, had a snag that Saturday where the site started bleeding and it required me to have an ER visit to make sure the bleeding clotted and re bandage the site sterilely. 

Exciting right?  Only thing is the trial is over a period of six weeks.  I will be staying in Houston for six weeks as of Jan 2nd.  I am leaving my daughter for six weeks.  At first we cried, boo hoo-ed, and hugged it out, then we put our big girl panties on and started dealing with it.  I will be able to come home some weekends, we will FaceTime, and friends have offered to come visit and bring her with them.  The outpouring of love and support during this time has been amazing.  I am so thankful to have all of you in my life and wouldn't change it for a thing.  Thanks for being you, all of you.

So we got back last night from Houston after a couple days of testing.  From what I understand, I passed all the testing and will be starting for sure Jan 3rd.  It requires a two night stay in the hospital at M.D. Anderson's, at least, for the first treatment, and after that it is outpatient but a 10 hour day.  Simple price to pay for my life.  If the treatment keeps me stable I will be on another six week, weekly treatment schedule.  I want it to work but have mixed feelings about being in Houston so long.  We do what we gotta do right?

So keep me in your prayers.  I will post on here the address where I will be staying once I get permission from my brother and sister in law.  Just in case any one wants it. 

So I am nervous as fuck.  That sums it up in a nutshell.  I will keep you posted, I will have plenty of time to blog in the hospital during treatments, I am sure.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Love,

Shannon

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I just am not one of those people

I know, I know. It's been forever since I have written.  So, I have a little bit of catching you guys up to do.  I have been back to M.D Anderson's twice since I last wrote anything.  


I was on medicines Aromasin and Affinitor.  I went back once and had great news.  No new tumors and some that I had, had become benign.  It was great news in fact.  So great I was too nervous to share it.  I felt like the moment I told anyone I would get some phone call telling me that they read the reports wrong and it was all a big mistake.  It really did not feel real.  I have been taking in bad news for so long i did not know how to deal with good news.  In a way I feel bad because I didn't give ya'll a chance to celebrate with me.  I should have shouted it from the rooftops but it seemed to good to be true.

Unfortunately it was.  I went back three months later just to find out I have new tumors on both my lungs and in my right hip.  Yes, multiple tumors on both my lungs.  Plus elsewhere things had gotten worse.  So, my good news was, in fact, short lived.  Plus, I am now faced with the fact that I have taken most of the medicine approved already and there are only two medicines left.  One that has a big ole chance of heart failure.  The other is your run of the mill, makes you feel like shit, chemo.  

And then my doctor once again tried to convince me to stop treatment and just let the cancer do it's job.  But live the last of my life without the burden of treatment.  She almost convinced me too.

So after a lot of debating it with myself and others.  Thinking of pros and cons.  And just being reasonable, I have decided on the run of the mill, makes you feel like shit, chemo.  My heart is too precious to me and it has been through a lot.  I do not know that it could handle another medicine that could hurt it.  I talked it over with my oncologist here and she agreed and said "Once your heart has taken a hit like yours has, it doesn't take much to bring it back down" or something like that.  

But I do go back to M.D. Andersons for an appointment to check my heart on the 28th of this month, then to see my doctor on the 30th, then to go and talk with Phase I Clinical Trials on Dec 1st.  Because that is the next step.  Phase I Clinical Trials.  I am no longer a candidate for other clinical trials because of my hearts history but apparently I can still do Phase I trials.  

I'm seriously nervous about all of it.  About the way my cancer seems to be spreading at an accelerated pace now, the chemo, the Phase I Clinical Trials, and watching my life span shorten right in front of my face.

I understand some people live their lives ready to meet their maker.  I just am not one of those people.  I want to be here to see Madisyn graduate high school.  I want to see her graduate college.  I want to see how her life ends up.  Does she get married?  Have kids?  Does she become the teacher she so wants to be?  Or does she become an artist, a graphic designer, anything related to art?  

I'm so nervous about it all.  I know plenty of people have gone before me and they rest in peace but I am not ready for it.  I know when I die, I won't regret dying but right now I don't want to die yet.

After all this time not writing, this is all I can think of to write.  I wish I had more for you today but, that's all folks!

Lots of love,

Shannon

Sunday, June 5, 2016

it could be worse.

So, today marks the eleventh anniversary of my marriage.  Haha.  As many of you know, I haven't been married for a long time.  But fortunately, my ex and I actually get along better than we ever have these days.  Better than when we were together.  Being the type of guy he is, he stayed in our lives because of Madisyn.  We met when she was just over a year and by the time she was two she was calling him dada.  So when we decided to call it quits when she was just five, he didn't want to lose her.  And I didn't want, yet another, dad to turn his back on her.  Though it was hard at times we kept it together and kept the relationship (their relationship) together.  He treats her better than he treats anyone in this world and really brings out the best in him.  We are lucky to still have this man in our lives.  We have definitely had rough patches and will probably have more in the future but all in all I thank God for his presence in our lives.  For one, Madisyn has someone to call dad, to love and be loved, and to turn to when she can't turn to me.  I have someone to go to when I don't know where to turn, if I am having problems with Madisyn or if I am just having problems.  Sometimes I may wish that he wasn't around but for the most part he is one of  my best friends.  Through it all he has stuck around and that is saying something.  He could had said, "screw this", a long time ago, but he didn't.  I have definitely said, "screw this", a time or two, and he still stuck around.  So, thank you Casey.  No, I don't talk about you in my blogs usually but here you go, this is for you. He is a father when he didn't have to be and we love and appreciate him for it. In fact we love his whole family who has always accepted us into the family.  He also has a girlfriend, Janna, who helps us out when she can too.  We love her probably more than him.  Kidding Casey.

 This month also marks the eleventh anniversary of having cancer.  That's right.  On my wedding day I was waiting to get in to see a doctor about a huge lump in my breast that I had no doubt was cancer.  I spent the day trying to spend as much time with everyone that I could because I felt like my life was coming to an end soon.  The only people I had ever known with cancer had passed except one so I didn't have high hopes for my battle.  I tried to memorize every moment of that day because I knew I had a battle coming and I would need these good memories to look back on.  Some points I found myself just watching all my loved ones.  My family, my friends.  I just sat back and watched.  At the end of the day I stayed and visited with all my family that had come into town just to see me get married while my husband went to hang out with his friends.  We weren't very conventional.  But I don't regret it.  I was happy to spend time with everyone, taking in every moment.  It was like a party to celebrate the end of one life and the beginning of the new life I was about to start.  I'm not talking about my new married life either.  Then when it came time for our honeymoon, I had the biopsy just before and the weekend in New Orleans was spent wondering what was going to happen next.  I knew it was cancer.  I knew my life was about to change.  I'm not sure Casey did.  He kept up a positive front, but I knew.  And the week after our honeymoon, on a Friday afternoon, we went to the doctor, with Madisyn in my lap, and were told, "Yes, it's cancer."  After that doctor's appointment we went out to eat.  To Outback Steakhouse.  I remember it like it was yesterday.  We didn't talk much and I spent most of the evening watching others around me and wondering what it was like to be them.  I wondered what, and if, anyone else had some life changing news 30 minutes ago.  I wished I could turn back time and life be like it was before.  I wondered what it was like to be worry free.  To not have the words cancer in your life.  I had already forgotten what that was like.  It felt like I was suffocating, the world was shrinking, and I was mad.  Mad that I couldn't be carefree and laughing and having a good time.  I didn't share any of this with my new husband.  I kept it bottled inside which made for a very awkward evening.  I did learn that putting up a brave front probably isn't the best idea in a relationship.  That is probably the one person you should be talking to about it and if you can't talk to them about it then you are probably in a bad relationship (ahem).  What is great is that we can talk about things now.  For the most part anyway. 

That first year was probably one of the hardest I had.  The fear of the unknown really drove me crazy.  I cried, all the time.  Every time I was alone.  In the car, in the shower, with my daughter (she was little, she didn't count, I felt I could cry in front of her, a lot of times she made it better with a hug), just always.  I was scared.  So scared.  I didn't want to leave my baby girl.  It has gotten easier over the past eleven years.  I have faced my worst fears.  They have been thrown at me and forced me to deal with them.  All the time I wasted scared of the moments I live in now.  Sure, it isn't the best most ideal situation but I deal.  And I realize it could always be worse.  Always be worse.  Eleven years ago, this life was my worst nightmare.  Now I am living it.  And it isn't so bad.  Just yet.  I pray.  I believe I am healed and every three months I get to find out what is happening in my body.  My prayers haven't been answered, or as I like to look at it, they have been answered, this is just the answer.  I may have cancer still, but I am not hospital bound.  I get to live my life everyday.  I get to enjoy my life everyday.  I may be on oxygen.  I may have other problems I have to deal with in this life but I am still here.  I still wake up every morning.  I still see the sun shining, the rain raining, the grass growing.  I'm still here.  So I can't complain.  I won't complain.  Not today anyway.  God has his plans for me and one day they will be fulfilled and my time here will be over.  But not today.

For those wondering how I am doing, I am doing good!  I started my new treatment and so far I just get fatigued more than usual with it.  So that just means I nap more.  No mouth sores just yet.  No hair loss just yet.  No hot flashes just yet.  I have had some nausea and vomiting but I think that was from real low blood sugar.  Damn diabetes.  Apparently it can really suck.  So now I am being careful and eating more often and hoping and praying it doesn't happen again.  Speaking of, I should go eat something.

xoxoxoxoxo

Shannon

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

nope, i'm not thankful for cancer

So, I am finally sitting down to write about my M.D Anderson's appointment.  Which I will.  My mind is going all over the place at the moment and I have other stuff I need to talk about.

I just read an article about a couple trying to get pregnant and it was so good.  But there it was again, that little reminder that I never will again.  Not that I am in any position to even think about something like that.  I am a single mother battling cancer.  A surprise that was given to me in 2005 and has gifted me (yes this is sarcasm) with eleven years (in June) of a nonstop fight for my life.  Some do call their cancer a gift.  I did, in fact, used to think this way as well.  I have come to a point in my life where, yes I am thankful for the people it has brought in my life.  I am thankful for the ability to spend more time with my daughter.  I am thankful for a stronger faith in God (though I could have a stronger faith without cancer too, I will never know).  I do know I have had to lean on him more in this life since cancer more than I probably ever would have without the diagnosis.  There are different things cancer has brought me that I am thankful for, though I am not thankful for cancer itself.

Not to throw a pity party for myself, because I am not.  I am not sad I am just stating facts in my life.  But I would rather work and pay my own bills.  I would rather be better and not on treatments.  I would rather be able to leave the house without oxygen bottles.  To be able to travel without the worry about oxygen.  I would rather not be on food stamps.  I would like to be thinking about dating and not just laugh at the possibility.  Laugh because, in my experience, I am not what others are looking for in a mate.  I want to think about the magic of having children and think it is a possibility for me to have more.  Don't get me wrong, I am completely happy with my Madisyn, and I do not feel as though I am "missing" anything by not being able to have more children but I do, sometimes, wish it was a possibility.  And who knows, I may meet someone who could love me for who I am, only God knows what is in my future.  But we will never have children together.  I wish I could work out.  I wish I could drive myself where I need to go.  I wish I could afford to do fun things, like travel.   I wish I did not have to be in some sort of pain all the time. I wish a doctor would walk into the room and say the medicine worked.  I wish cancer never fucking came that's what I wish.  That it never invaded my life and my privacy and changed it all for good.

I am 36 years old, to be 37 in October and I spent the last 11 years fighting.  I am tired.  I am frustrated.  I am ready for the miracle.  I am ready for people to not see cancer when they look at me.  I am ready for them to see me again.  I am ready to stop seeing friends die from this disease and do not want to be the friend who died from this disease.  I am aggravated.  I feel like I always write about the same thing.  Oh well.  

So if you have not already figured it out, the tests said I had growth pretty much in all my tumors (except one I think) and a brand spanking new one on my right lung.  Small but there.  So we stopped that treatment and are going back to estrogen therapy.  If you keep up with my blog you may remember us doing a biopsy on one of my tumors to redetermine the estrogen factor.  It came back 15% Estrogen Receptor Positive.  That is a weak receptor so we decided to go the chemo route last time.  I think we may have used all the chemo I can do because she made it clear we do not have many options left after this and the best route to go was estrogen therapy on a 15% positive cancer.  But she also said, we don't know, just because this one tumor is on the weak side of things doesn't necessarily mean all the tumors are on the weak side.  So I am at the "I will do whatever you say" point so we are doing it.

One thing I love about this hospital, my doctors local and non local, and my journey is I have no regrets in my treatment.  The only thing I kind of regret is not trying to raise $200,000 for the stem cell transplant they wanted me to do a ways back, because that is the only thing I haven't done.  But for the most part, I regret nothing.  My doctors have let me choose which way to go, what to do, and let me feel in control of this, the whole way.  We have been a "team" and I have not been blindly following orders like I did when I was first diagnosed.  I think that is something that helps me feel like I have done everything I can do.  I won't stop until they say they have nothing else for me, even then I may just go to another hospital.  It will be a tough decision to stop any treatment in the end, which I fear is coming closer than I want it to.  I mean what other choice will I have when they tell me there is nothing else we can do?  See why I am not thankful for cancer?

I am thankful for a lot of other things, just not cancer.

xoxoxoxo,

Shannon


Monday, May 2, 2016

oh this emotional roller coaster

I know it has been awhile since I have written anything.  It has been a busy few months.  Well emotionally busy.  I did have a minor surgery I am still recovering from.  My MediPort became infected (or so we thought) and antibiotics didn't work.  A hole formed and I was at the surgeons office one day wondering what was happening and what do we do about it and the next I was on the operating table.  It was so scary for me.  I was scared because of my heart and by the Grace of God came through it wonderfully.  He removed the MediPort and since then, daily, I have a home health nurse come a clean and dress my wound.  In fact, I see him on Wednesday to see what the next steps are.  Maybe I can stop having it changed every day, and maybe just twice a week or something.  I'm kind of ready for it to be over with, but I will miss my nurses!  It's like having a friend come over everyday to see you!

Back to being emotionally busy... It has taken awhile for me to wrap my brain around all of this. This new cancer in my right lung. Not only that, the fact that I have a tumor in my sternum, that crushed my sternum and patiently I wait, wondering if this is the day it crushes my heart.  In fact my head is not completely wrapped around anything.  I wonder what is better, a sudden death or this going slowly but surely.  Before cancer I didn't think about death so much.  I knew it would happen, sometimes I would have panic attacks about the fact that I may one day die and so will everyone else.  But it was nothing like this.


I can't watch a movie preview without thinking to myself "I hope I am alive to see that".  I can't make a doctor's appointment without wondering if someone will have to call and cancel because I died.  Am I going to see my daughter turn 16?  Am I going to see her graduate high school?  What about college? Will I see her get married?  Am I going to be able to finish reading this Harry Potter series?  What about the One Year Bible I started, will I finish it?  It's thoughts like these that haunt me daily, nightly, and all time in between.  

The crazy thing is, at the same time I am wondering, "what am I doing with my life?" I think to myself, "You should go to school, you should be working, you should be able to keep your house spotless at all times"  All these things come and go, alongside all the other things.  I certainly could hold a record for the most negative thoughts at one time.

The depression that seems to have come with my last M.D. Anderson's appointment is outrageous.  All television shows make me cry.  Commercials make me cry.  I feel as though I have the hormones of a pregnant woman.  Quite impossible since my removal of my Ovaries and Fallopian tubes but still something I find myself struggling with now.  

Oh my gosh and I can't even get into the anxiety.  I wouldn't know where to start.  I know I have discussed this before but it has such a level in my life I can't not bring it up.  I have anxiety for anything and everything.  

But in a way, I feel I am dealing as good as I can.  My brain may be going in a swirling motion at all times.  My heart beating fast yet steady.  Plus sometimes I am as numb as can be.  Frozen in place not knowing how to move.  Not knowing what to do.  But in ways I am happy.  Happier than ever.  Sure I get frustrated about not driving but I love my life.  My little apartment.  My family.  My friends.  My survivor sisters.  I have more happiness than some perfectly healthy people out there I bet.  In a way I feel I am lucky.  I know I am lucky.

I have some good people in my life that keep me busy.  They come in all forms.  Friends, neighbors, family, fellow survivors,nurses, doctors, in their own way, they all keep me in line.  They help me stay on top of my life.  So thanks to each of you for being you.  For keeping me busy.  For helping me enjoy what's left to my life and not letting me stay down for too long at a time.  I appreciate you.  You all know who you are.

Most of you have brought up to me the topic of setting up a gofundme of some sort.  To help with hospital bills, bills, groceries, necessities.  So I want to let you know I am looking into it today and hopefully will have it set up soon.  I will share.  One thing I want to set up is a gofundme for my funeral expenses.  I know my parents don't have the money for it and I don't have life insurance so be on the lookout for that as well.  As soon as I get everything sorted I will post. 

Also there has been conversation about a meal calendar and stuff that I may need help with so I will be looking into that as well.  I will look into what kinds there are and what fits my needs best.  

Thanks again everyone for caring enough to even ask me to do stuff like this.  I am honored to have you in my life.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

damn lungs

So.  This is one of those suck ass blogs.  One that I dread writing, but I know I have to because I feel like, well, this is what I do.  I write about it.  When I don't know how to react, what to do, how to feel, where to turn, I write.  So here I am.


I'm gonna start this off but saying I have been feeling good.  I noticed I had to purposely use my oxygen more; like on walks to go bring the dog out, at home when I normally wouldn't, stuff like that.  Didn't think much of it but something like, "hey I'm supposed to be wearing it anyway".  Other than that, my pain has been controlled, I haven't been having nausea or other problems.  My iron has been okay except this last appointment on Tuesday when I had to get a Procrit shot.  

My anxiety is killing me right now.  Just the fact that I have to think about what is going on inside me, it just is killing me.  I've been doing a good job of forgetting it.  Or just not thinking about it so far.  But writing this is making me think about it.

So I went to Houston this week for a check up.  I felt fine, like I said.  I felt confident.  But the doctor came in immediately asking how was my breathing.  I shrugged like, "fine I guess".  The treatment had been working mostly everywhere but there are some new spots on my right lung.  She showed them to me and they are so bright.  Now that they are bright they compared them to the previous scan in November and the spots were there but very light.  So I have cancer in my right lung.  There, I said it.  My stomach is slowly untwisting itself.

The worst part wasn't finding out I had cancer in my lung.  It was what she explained after.  She explained how now that it is there, don't be surprised if something happens.  Examples:  it spreads into both my lungs, or i die, or it spreads into other organs.  She just wanted to prepare me for anything.  I cried like a baby for probably six hours.  Silent tears flowing as we drove back from Texas, imagining Madisyn without her mom, picturing the discussion of deciding for a millionth time where she would like to live when I'm gone, thinking about how everyone's life will continue on once mine is over.  

Then I started panicking about how we could die in a car wreck on the way home.  Anxiety just has been sneaking in everywhere.  It is getting ridiculous.  Car rides especially, and especially at night.  Suddenly I am noticing pain in all my tumors and I know it has got to do with my anxiety but it is driving me nuts.  

This is just another phase.  It will pass.  I will get used to it, just like I did when I found out it was in my bone.  It's just gonna take a minute.

xoxo

shannon

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Bring It!

Oh where do I start.  Recently I began to have seizures again.  It's been many many years since I have enjoyed the company of these things.  Turns out they weren't seizures but me blacking out while shaking at the same time.  No sign of epileptic activity, thank God.

It all started in October.  I had just moved into a new apartment and I was in the middle of unpacking one day, a friend over helping me, when suddenly I fell out while my body moved uncontrollably.  Freaked my friend out for sure.  But we continued on with unpacking.  I made an appointment with my neurologist and moved on.

I continued to have these "episodes" and after doing a brain MRI, it showed nothing out of the usual.  Praise God again.

I went in for chemo the following Tuesday to find my iron was low and my kidneys were out of whack.  So for the next few days I went in for fluids and iron and was given a shot to increase my red blood cell count.  We hoped this would work, because I was on my way out of town that weekend, to Texas.  So, off to Texas we went.  We went a little early to spend time with my nephews, so by Wednesday when I was to see my doctor, I was really wore out.  Turned out I was in kidney failure again and I needed two pints of blood.  They admitted me for a couple days and I started feeling much better.  Turns out the anemia was causing all the havoc on and in my body.  Since the transfusion I haven't had one "episode".  Due to lack of oxygen in my blood caused by the anemia, is their educated guess on why I was having those episodes.  Super glad they stopped.  I was out and home by Thanksgiving.

Ever since the transfusion my bloodwork has been normal!  I pray it stays this way and I don't have to undergo another transfusion.  They said to expect more.

We had good holidays this year, blessed to have someone sponsor us for Christmas.  Plus I was given a blessing by The Life of a Single Mom that helped me through the holidays.  They are such an amazing organization.

God really saw that we were taken care of this year.  It may have been an up and down year, healthwise, but I remain firmly planted in the beliefs that God will provide all we need.  And he has.

We struggle from time to time but we find our footing and keep our heads held high.

Madisyn had a wonderful year.  She discovered her Panthrobotics team and loves it to death.  Speaking of, if any of you are interested in sponsoring through donations to her team, she needs some sponsors.  Email me at shannoncmcalister@gmail.com.

I guess I should mention, I had two biopsies done today.  On my skin.  Most probably a rash caused by my treatment.  But there are a couple stitches in my arm and on my cheek.  For some reason I wasn't expecting the stitching but oh well.  You deal with what you gotta deal with.  They don't hurt, just kinda itch.

Well here's to another great year!  Bring it 2016!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Our Operation Blessing video from the 700 Club





Thursday, October 29, 2015

loss

I'm writing today because I need to write.  I just had a seizure so everything I was going to say is a little hazy.  I haven't had a seizure in a long time and I forgot how it affects you.  My body hurts, I'm slurry with my words, and everything about today is, like I said, a little hazy.


But I know I really wanted to write and had a passion for it, finding my laptop was top priority yesterday and I finally found it last night.  We just moved to a different apartment so everything is kind of everywhere right now.  

We have been so blessed with this move.  The church sent out some volunteers, some friends volunteered, and some family volunteered.  It was something so amazing to see.  I felt God's blessings upon us tremendously.  On the last day of the move (my birthday), the crew from church (a veterans group) bought lunch, a cake for my birthday, and a great piece for my den.  It was a great way to end the week of moving.  I've also had some great friends who have come and helped me unpack.  It's hard with all the junk I have and I really appreciate everyone's help!!!  Thank you!!!

I've had to all this while dealing with the loss of a loved sister.  A SurviveDat sister.  If you are a regular on this blog then you know already but if not SurviveDat is a group for young women with breast cancer.  We meet monthly, we chat on group me, and we all love each other dearly.  In August our sister, Cynara, cancer came back.  She had just started chemo and was having a rough time but nothing could have prepared me for October 13th, 2015.  The day we lost our angel.  She was one of my angels.  She helped me through some tough times.  All of the girls have helped me through tough times.  And Cynara was special.  She could take the worst news and spin it for the positive.  I truly can't believe this world lost her.  Her life spirit seemed like it would last forever.  It hurts, it hurts, it hurts.  Everytime I hear or see anything that reminds me of her, it hurts all over again.  Everytime any of her wisdom goes through my mind, it hurts some more.

And it pisses me off.  She is one person who was not supposed to die first.  I actually feel that way about everyone.  I feel like I should be the one who has passed.  I mean, why do I get to still be here when they don't.  I've been going through this the longest, it should be me.  She loved and appreciated life so much.  It's not fair.  I hate cancer.  It's been a little while since I have lost anyone to cancer.  The last person a sweet little girl who I was a Brownie Troop Leader for years ago.  She was in middle school and developed a form of brain cancer.  It was horrible.  Her name was Payton.  I can barely think about it without losing it.  I know it's survivor's guilt, and I know it's perfectly normal for me to feel this way.  But it still gets to me.  

I know death is probably the last thing you want to hear about, but it's a part of life.  

xoxoxo

shannon

Friday, September 25, 2015

pneumonia, navelbine, neupogen

Hi!  So I sit here wanting to write a blog post but with nothing I really can think of to say, you guys know me, I'm sure I'll talk your ears off.  Or eyes.

A little bit about the past few weeks.  First off I began Navelbine, which I know I already told you about.  I had my second treatment on Sept 8th and started to think this chemo was really kicking my ass.  I was slow as can be, tired, my body hurt everywhere, my oxygen was lower than normal, my temp higher than normal, and just totally out of it.  Two days later on the 10th I went to my Internal Medicine doctor for a "well" check and asked to be checked for pneumonia.  I was like, it's either this chemo that's going to kick my behind or I have pneumonia again.  Well he checked for pneumonia and a few other things.  Sure enough I had pneumonia again.  We caught it early, thank God.  If I had let that go any more I don't know how I would have made it.  I was pretty much confined to the couch.  My body aches were so bad I could barely walk, I would take a bath with epsom salt and feel better, enough to go to bed.

So, Tuesday, the 15th, I went in for treatment but my white blood cell count was low.  To low to have chemo.  Low enough that I was to come back everyday and get a shot called Neupogen.  The Neupogen side effects had me laid out on the couch again, internally screaming in pain.  Then on Wednesday, I ran a high fever that night.  I know the protocol, which is take Tylenol (for me at least, my kidney's can't take ibuprofen), and make an appointment for the doctor in the morning.  So I waited until my already scheduled appointment the next day, called early, told them what happened so along with the shot I was getting blood work done.  Worried that it may have something to do with the pneumonia my oncologist sent me to my internal medicine doctor and it wasn't the pneumonia but with all my symptoms combined they wanted me in the ER.

I rush home and start packing.  I bring an ungodly amount of things with me to the ER in fear that I may be stuck there for weeks on end again.  It's like I'm moving in.  My mom couldn't bring me to the hospital so I called my friend, Trisha, who being awesome, dropped everything and brought me to the hospital.  Thanks Trisha!  By the time I got there I was running fever again and my counts had gone all funky.  So they sent me to my own room and started two iv's in me and got fluids and antibiotics running through me as fast as they can.  For two days I stayed in there, receiving fluids and antibiotics, and left there Saturday, with a script for more antibiotics.

Unfortunately when I left the hospital something had changed.  My legs were killing me.  They still are.  I wonder if it's from being in the hospital and not getting up much but it started while I was in the hospital, I just didn't know the extent of it until I got home and needed to go upstairs.  I have to take one stair at a time going up or down.  My legs are so painful.  So when my landlord came to me with the option to move into one of the one floor apartments I jumped on it.  It took me a couple days to realize that this leg problem isn't going away just yet and I need a one story!  I'm so excited.  I move November 1st and can't wait for that day.  So if you are free November 1st, I need help moving!  I know it's the most fun ever, but I'd really appreciate it completely.

So that brings us to now.  Last night I went to the most beautiful fundraiser.  It was called Bust for Breast Cancer.  Different artists designed different bra's.  They were so creative!  There was even one that had a red cape and the two cups were made into wolf heads.  I loved it!  I went with a friend whose daughter won a spot to design and decorate a bra.  Just so you know, it's a long waitlist for people wanting to participate in this show, and she got in!  We were so proud of her.  Her bra was so sweet with flowers and hand crafted bee's, just the sweetest thing.  I had to be in a wheelchair but I still had a blast.  Madisyn really enjoyed herself and I ran into some great people I hadn't seen in a long time.  Plus I sported my brand new pink wig and everything.  Thanks Shannon for bringing us!  You have no idea how much I appreciate it!!

That's about it for now.  I appreciate you, my readers, thanks for taking time to read my nonsense.

shannon
xo