Saturday, September 10, 2011

We have made the decision to stop treatment, which just seems to be tearing me down and not affecting the cancer. We switched to Hospice and they are wonderful. No more doctor's visits because she comes to us. Nancy, our nurse, says we are focusing on getting my immune system built up. No more blood draws or scans. With treatment out of the way, I can focus on getting my immune system strong enough to take it on. I can get my yoga practice going again, which will help physically, mentally, and spiritually. I have a portable pump that is giving me regular doses of Dilaudid into my port and can push the magic button to get a dose every ten minutes. Dilaudid is like morphine only stronger. Next week we'll work on using just the pump and ditching the patch. We have Maria in to clean and often do our laundry, so Hospice is going to send us someone on her off weeks! I have a nurse on call 24/7 so no more ER visits or hospitalization. Nancy had Casey making homemade veggie/chicken broth yesterday and it's delicious, full of good things and made with love. She says I've been eating incorrectly so she's putting me on the right track. I started vomiting pretty much the minute I got home from the hospital, so first goal is to break that cycle. Second is to get well enough to be up and around more. Yoga! I can't, however, go to a studio because my blood counts are so low. Casey and I are going to be practicing both yoga and meditation together.

Hospice no longer runs out after 6 months. Nancy works through Marian, which is a Catholic hospital, so they will find someone to cover the 10% our insurance doesn't pay. They have their own pharmacy so they will be paying for my medication. The services will increase as they become necessary. They'll send some to help me shower and dress if needed. Hospice is amazing!

I am also filing for disability retirement and will officially not be returning to teach, which is just breaking my heart. I need to devote myself to wellness care and hopefully can having the best quality of life possible for as long as possible. There is more cancer growing in there, in an inoperable spot, which I am actually relieved about that. The last thing I need is more surgery.

What I'm saying is my cancer does not respond to treatment, and my cancer is incurable. There are a lot of women living with it as a chronic disease for years. I believe that is within my reach. We are not giving up, we are changing the goals and the focus. Don't count me out yet!

What can you do to help? You can stay happy and positive, As my friend Susan says "Courage is contagious. I am happy to receive phone calls, FB messages, emails. Don't be afraid to get in touch. I am not sad, I am feeling a lot better. OK, I'm sad sometimes but I'm not going to be falling apart. Casey and I are going to Big Sur stay Ragged Point Inn, where we spent our honeymoon. Next we will definitely head up to Eureka. I feel like I need to go home and I really want Casey to see the really beautiful part of California.

We will be having a party here at our house soon - maybe for my birthday. We need all you boys to come back and bring those instruments and play music with Casey. We are going to put wood flooring in the guest room and hallway so it will be fit for guests. We also have a double bed frame from the Ranch and we're goin gto put another bed in there. Bella still occasionally poops in the house. Bummer! I'm hoping to put those floors in the downstairs TV room, our room, and the pool table room. We have a Home Depot credit card, so we'll do a room, pay it off, and start on another. We have a leaky basement and roof that need to be addressed. I want to get this house in good shape so Casey can sell it and make a profit. This house is way too big for him, and at some point it will just be Casey and Bella because our Benny dog is getting very old and feeble.

So, don't cry and get all sad. Who knows - I could have months left or it could be a few years. Nancy says I will know when time is running out and I feel nowhere near that now. If death comes sooner, remember I've lived for 50 very happy years. I loved my childhood, I loved being married to Jack and I don't see our divorce as a failure. We had many happy years together and we have stayed friends. I have two big regrets - I was hoping for Casey and I to have 30 to 35 years together. I hate the thought of leaving Cate, my beautiful niece. I love her so much and we have a strong bond. I know I will see everyone when it's their time, and I will be with mom and dad. I always told her I wanted her to meet me with Duder, my beloved cat, in her arms when I get there. Molly Jones and Margy, too... but not in her arms! :)

I got to live my dream, which was always about teaching. It helped so much with my inability to conceive. I did not get to experience motherhood this time, but I have loved many kids and I have loved having them in my life. I have Cate, whom I consider to be partly mine! I got to have relationships with my friend's kids, knowing them from when they were still in their mommy's tummy. Peggy and Kirk's 3 kids feel like they are partly mine, Susan's 2 kids, the same. I got my baby fix when Terez's kids were babies and that also helped quite a bit. I did not get the baby I dreamed of, but like cancer I didn't let it ruin my life. Trust me, life is too short to be unhappy.

Keep those prayers, intentions and positive thoughts coming our way. I saw a bumper sticker somewhere that said "Cancer is love." I have found that to be true. It has brought me closer to everyone in my life, deepened my love for Casey and his for me. I love my community. People get in touch give me the gift of their love and support. Not many people get to know, while they're still alive, how much they are loved. It's a powerful thing. If love healed cancer I would have been cured already. I was sick for probably 5 or 6 years before we got the diagnosis, so I have really not been well, except for 2010 where I had a brief reprieve, and Casey and I got married. I don't want to continue treatment and feel bad for the rest of my life. It's all about quality of life. When we had the talk with Dr. Spillane and made our decision, the first things Casey said to me when we walked outside and said "I'm so glad we got married." What a guy, huh? A lot of marriages break up under the cancer strain, but it has made us stronger.

I have written a very long post, I fear. There's been a lot of things waiting to come out!

Namaste, Jill

Here we are this morning. I don't look unhealthy or unhappy. Neither does Casey. It's all about the love, now!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Another Obstacle

The biopsy I has last week confirmed that there is cancer in me again, or still. Next Tuesday I will have my first treatment. This seems like round three to me, but perhaps it is just an extension of round two. No surgery this time. The drugs are Dioxin and Avastin. The hope is that this will cause the tumor to shrink, and then I'll get healthy enough for my immune system to do the rest. I'll have a treatment every three weeks and a CA125 prior to each treatment to see if it's working.

I will not be going back to work to start off the school year. I really thought I'd only miss part or half of last year, and here it is a whole year later and it's starting all over again just when I thought it was over. I hope I get to back soon. It's breaking my heart, not teaching and having all those kids in my life on a daily basis.

The good news is that I have been feeling better lately. I am no longer sleeping all day, and I have been getting out and doing things with friends and with Casey.

Here's my new do, thanks to Lizette who came to my house to cut and color my hair:


Namaste, Jill

Monday, August 1, 2011


My CT/biopsy will be Thursday at French hospital. I have to be there at 1:00 but the scan and biopsy won't happen until 3:00. No food or liquid prior - how fun for me. At least I don't have to drink that gross barium stuff. I won't see my oncologist until a week later because he will be on vacation. My latest CA125 is 85, which is up 5 points, 50 points higher than normal, but much lower than it has been when cancer was present. I'm thinking my belly is still fried from the radiation and it's keeping the number up. I don't see how cancer could be growing in there after all of the chemo and radiation I have endured.

I called my big brother and told him we are not going to be able to take our trip to the Smith river with them. Casey and I are heartbroken over this, but it can't be helped. Casey says we will go as soon as I'm well. Casey and I have not had much of a summer. In fact, I will be very glad to see the end of 2011. It has not been a good year for me in many ways.

I am back on track with my medications, and I am sleeping close to 20 hours a day. It helps with the boredom! I am not answering my phone much, since I tend to be asleep when people call and I also just don't really feel like talking. I apologize to everyone whose calls I haven't returned, and to several people who have been wanting to come see me and bring me a present. Hopefully I'll be feeling better and more social very soon.

In the meantime, I am spending lots of time sleeping with Bella during the day and with Casey at night. I am just loads of fun these days!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Feeling Slammed

Just when I think I've turned a corner and I'm going to be well, I get slammed back down again. Whatever is going on with my gall bladder, or near it, is making me very nauseous. I'm taking two different anti-nausea medications to keep it under control. Last weekend I ran out of one of them without realizing it and I paid the price. I had a miserable night of dry heaving until Casey went to the pharmacy at 4:30 am to get my prescription. Bless my husband and Walgreen's 24 hour pharmacy. I got it under control, but I am still having trouble eating and being up. Apparently there are lots of people who need ultrasounds and as of Friday they hadn't found an available room and doctor at the same time. Sarah from RDC (Radiology Diagnostic Center) in Templeton has been working on it, and finally she just called the doctor my oncologist asked for directly. He said he'd do a CT guided biopsy instead and we're all hoping for Tuesday. Until we figure out what is causing this I won't be well. It all started during my last five radiation treatments, and I really think it pissed off my gall bladder somehow. I doubt that cancer could manifest right after chemo and radiation.

Casey and I are still hoping to make our trip north, but it all depends on when I get the biopsy and when they can figure out what's wrong and try to fix it.

It has been almost a year since this stupid cancer came back to try and get me. I refuse to let it win. Hopefully they will find the problem and there will be a simple fix. Meanwhile, I miss writing my blog and I'll try to do it more often.

Thanks for all of the love and support. Namaste, Jill

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Getting out into the world, a bit

It's a beautiful morning here in A-town, and I'm Just sitting here trying to decide what to write. I have been sleeping 15-20 hours a day, so my world is pretty small right now. I'm wearing a patch with pain medication, and it makes me want to sleeeeeep for days. It's better than insomnia, that's for sure.

I'm going to lunch with Debbie and Amelia today. It will be good to get out and see my friends. Sydney and Yvonne are coming this afternoon and going to the fair to see Kid Rock. I haven't seen Sydney in Awhile, so I'm excited and I love Yvonne, too!

We will be leaving a week from tomorrow to head north. We'll make a bed in the back of Stella for me and the dogs - good thing we have Stella Blue, or I probably wouldn't be going. I think the redwoods and the Smith river will have a powerful healing effect on me. When we get home from the Smith I'll have a week and then...back to work! I'm pretty excited about that.

I think I'll go back to bed for awhile now. I am going to try to get back into my daily writing routine.


Here's me and Bella, in bed together:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I had fun last weekend. I actually left the house and had some fun! Our friend Troy was playing at the Carlton. Danny also came for the weekend and he brought ahi and made dinner Friday night, and Saturday night he brought me chocolate cake. Danny is a most excellent friend! Richard and Mary came too, and we all went to see Troy and Eddie at the Carlton. Casey got up and played guitar and sang a few songs with Eddie. It was great, so good for Casey to have so much fun.

I started feeling better last Friday. I had a massage and a chakra balancing session with my friend Linda. It was truly amazing. I could feel that my heart and my solar plexus chakras were blocked, and I felt it when they opened up. I could feel the energy and Susan and Linda could see it in the pendulum Linda was using. I felt euphoric for days afterward. That Friday I stayed up the rest of the day, cleaning up around the house a bit.
I walked the block without having to stop ten times, and I slept that night and the night after for ten hours.

I had a CT/PET scan last week and something showed up near my gall bladder. Could be a few things, but cancer is certainly a possibility. More tests this week. It's really hard for me to write right now - lots of typos. I am very out of practice. I do believe I'm going back to sleep now.

Me and Troy in June:


Friday, July 15, 2011

My Couch

Last night my bed felt like a prison. I knew sleep was not a possibility, so I got up and took my third steaming hot bath of the day. It helps my aching back. I soaked by candlelight in my Moroccan Rose Oil (By REN, I'm addicted to it) and tried to relax. I have a whirling dervish of a stress ball running loose inside of me. Anxiety run amok. I figure it's probably due to a combination of things: repressed emotions, unexpressed physical energy, fear and pain. After my bath I did a few yoga stretches then did legs up the wall and continued to try to relax. I could not face the bed again, so I moved to the couch. Sydney's right - it's a great couch for sleeping. The minute I got comfy - legs on my heart pillow, pretty much in savasana on the couch - I knew I would be able to sleep. Once I got the dogs back into the bedroom I fell asleep and slept soundly until Casey got up. I drowsed while he did phase one of his work day and I got up when the pancakes were ready. I just took my first hot bath of the day (Hooray for cool Weather in July in A-town!) and I'm back on the couch. I had to write for as long as I could today, and that's it for today. I'm hoping to sleep all day on my wonderful couch.

I believe I'm on my way back up.